Bean Willis’ season-high 31 points led Ohio to a thrilling 83-82 victory over the Akron Zips. The senior combo guard headlined an overpowering second half comeback to lead the Bobcats to a thrilling win.
The Green & White trailed by as much as 11 with 12:30 remaining, but they outscored Akron 29-10 in the next ten minutes to lead by 10 with just over two minutes left. Willis scored 17 of his 31 points in a 3:41 span during the Ohio run.
“I don’t think I’ve seen an explosion quite like that,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “They weren’t all easy. It wasn’t like Akron was giving him shots.”
Willis made six of his eight 3-point attempts, leading the Bobcats to 61 percent clip from downtown. The Texas Tech transfer even grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and five assists in the win.
“Every shot that I shot, it felt like it was going to go in,” Willis said. “I remember at one point I was looking up at the score, and I think we were down 10, and I said to myself ‘I’ve got to hit every shot.’”
Maurice N’dour added 16 points and three blocks for Ohio. Stevie Taylor scored 14 points off the bench and Tony Campbell tallied 11 points.
The ‘Cats shot 52 percent from the field. Akron (15-7, 6-3 MAC) shot well at 49 percent and 52 percent from 3-point land, but the Zips failed to make a free throw in their six attempts at the line.
Deji Ibitayo led Akron with 21 points. Noah Robotham and Pat Forsythe both added 11 points in the Zips’ first loss in four games.
Willis career night was a standout performance for a player whose shot selection is often criticized.
“You want me to explain Bean Willis?” Phillips said. “That’s a research project for someone on campus.”
Ohio (8-12, 3-6 MAC) has won two straight home games and hopes to extend its streak to three when it hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m.