Ndour and company take the ‘Juice” out of Toledo

Maurice Ndour's 28 points were a career high. (Carl Fonticella)

Maurice Ndour’s 28 points were a career high. (Carl Fonticella)

After falling short a number of times at home, Ohio (16-5,6-2 MAC) finally got the last minute win they needed. And for the third straight game, the Bobcats found a way to avenge a second-half, double-digit deficit, defeating Toledo (18-3, 6-2 MAC) 95-90 in overtime.

From start to finish, this game was a back-and-forth affair. Neither team could pull away, and when one team would try to put it away, the other would respond to make it a close game.

“This was a great college basketball game,” coach Jim Christian said. “Both teams played very, very well, both teams hit huge shots, and the atmosphere was great.”

Each team played the other blow for blow. With their point totals, both Ohio and Toledo set team records for points scored in a conference game.

The scoring output was due in part to the play of guards Stevie Taylor and Nick Kellogg. Taylor finished with a career high 23 points and four assists, while Kellogg had 18 points to go along with a career-high nine assists.

However, the biggest game of the day goes to forward Maurice Ndour, who had a career high 28 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Toledo had no answer for Ndour, and he took advantage of that.

“I knew that the guy that was guarding me would not play any defense, so I wanted to make sure he would come and try to play [defense] on me,”  Ndour said.

On the other hand, Toledo guard Julius “Juice” Brown matched Ndour with his play at the other, finishing with 28 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

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Stevie Taylor’s floater in overtime was the difference for Ohio. (Carl Fonticella)

“(Brown) had such a good game, that if he had a look, it felt like it was going in,” Christian said.

In overtime, both Ndour and Brown continued  their clutch play in the extra period. But, it was a crucial sequence by Taylor that would end up being the two biggest plays of the game.

Leading 91-90 with just over one minute left in the overtime, Taylor would force Brown into a five second closely-guarded call, giving the ball back to the Bobcats. On the ensuing possession, Taylor would hit a floater to give the Bobcats a three point lead.

“Juice (Brown) was being lazy with the ball, and he took a play off and I knew this would be a big time,” Taylor said. “I took whatever I had left in me and pressured him the whole time, and I got the five second call.”

Brown would get one more chance to provide more heroics for the Rockets, but his three-pointer with 10 seconds left would go in and out. No one fouled T.J. Hall on the rebound and he threw it up court to Taylor, who would lay it in to seal the victory for the Bobcats.

“For our team, we needed one of the games to grind out and come out on top of this,” Nick Kellogg said.

Ohio’s next game will be this upcoming Wednesday, a road game at Western Michigan. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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