CLEVELAND — Ohio and Central Michigan played a pair of shootouts in the regular season, each team winning on the other’s home court.
The third meeting was more of the same, but unfortunately for the Bobcats, it was the Chippewas who won the rubber match.
No. 2 Central Michigan out lasted No. 3 Ohio 100-92 in overtime in a Mid-American Conference semifinal on Friday inside Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Bobcats shot 45.5 percent (35 of 77) from the field, including making 12 3-pointers but it ultimately wasn’t enough against the Chipps.
True to form for the two teams, there were 13 lead changes and nine ties. Ohio’s biggest lead was just six points in the first quarter, while Central Michigan’s biggest lead of 10 points didn’t come until overtime.
Central Michigan led 22-19 after one quarter thanks to a late 3-pointer from Molly Davis.
Central Michigan still led 45-42 at halftime after Davis scored in the paint with 21 seconds remaining.
Ohio cut the deficit to 67-66 after three quarters and the two sides continued to go back and forth the rest of the way.
Ohio trailed 85-80 after Jahari Smith scored on a second-chance opportunity in the paint with 1:33 to play.
Ohio inched to within 85-82 with 1:23 left after Madi Mace scored inside.
Cece Hooks came up with a steal to give the Bobcats possession. She found Mace behind the 3-point line, and the freshman hit a 3-pointer with 52 seconds left to force an 85-85 tie.
The game remained tied through the rest of regulation, but the Bobcats would lose the services of Hooks. The senior fouled out on an offensive foul with under 10 seconds remaining.
Without Hooks, the Bobcats weren’t able to keep up the pace in overtime. Central Michigan went ahead 87-85 on Smith’s layup, then 90-85 on Kelly’s shot in the paint.
Central Michigan scored the first eight points of the overtime period, eventually leading 97-87 after two Davis free throws with 35 seconds remaining.
Hooks had 23 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists for the Bobcats. Erica Johnson had 23 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Gabby Burris added 17 points and three steals, while Mace had 16 points and six rebounds. Kaylee Bambule had nine points on a trio of 3-pointers. Caitlyn Kroll added four points.
Davis and Kelly led the Chippewas attack. Davis had 33 points on 11 of 20 shooting, making five 3-pointers, to go with four assists and three steals. Kelly added 32 points on 11 of 18 shooting to go with nine assists.
Smith tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Maddy Watters had 10 points and three assists.
Central Michigan (18-8) went on to win the MAC Tournament on Saturday, defeating No. 1 Bowling Green 77-72 in the championship game.
The Bobcats are 14-8, and will find out on Monday if any postseason opportunities await.