Season high

Ohio junior forward Gabby Burris (41), seen here earlier this season, had a season-high 19 points as the Bobcats posted a 75-65 win at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

Amani Burke was back in the mix, Gabby Burris had a bounce-back game, and the Bobcats got back on track.

Burris scored a season-high 19 points and was one of four starters in double figures as the Ohio University women’s basketball team posted a 75-65 win at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday night in Ypsilanti.

Burris hit 8 of 13 shots and added six rebounds in her most productive game of the season. It was just her second double-figure scoring game in the last 10. Burris had 13 points in the first half, and her 3-point play early in the second quarter gave OU a double-digit lead it never relinquished.

“We were able to get her touches early,” said Ohio associate head coach Tavares Jackson in a postgame radio interview. “Credit to her for keeping after it and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Ohio (14-7, 7-3 Mid-American Conference) maintained its position atop the MAC East Division with the win, and with the victory took over sole possession of second place in the overall MAC standings. Central Michigan, a 66-60 home winner over NIU, stayed perfect in conference play at 10-0.

The Bobcats didn’t get a single point from its bench, but had four of five starters hit double figures.

Erica Johnson piled up a double-double with game-highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Burke, after missing OU’s last game for a death in the family, added 13 points.

Cece Hooks, Ohio’s leading scorer, was held to just two points in the first half because of early foul trouble. Hooks finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals after a stat-filled second half.

“She was still a huge part of this game,” Jackson said. “We set the tone early on with Cece forcing a couple early steals.”

Eastern Michigan (10-11, 5-5 MAC) was facing an uphill battle at the start. Because of injury, the Eagles played without its top two scorers — Arenna Combs and Aaliyah Stanley — and without starting 6-foot-5 center Autumn Hudson. EMU dressed just eight players.

Jenna Annecchiarico led EM with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Courtnie Lewis added 13 points, RayJon Harris chipped in 12 off the bench, and Juanita Agosto had 10.

The win was Ohio’s sixth in the last seven meetings against EMU and moved OU to 5-5 in true road games this season.

The Bobcats put the pressure on immediately, and opened the game with a pair of layups — keyed by Hooks’ steals — and a 4-0 lead that forced an EMU timeout just 43 seconds into the game.

Johnson and Burris alternated buckets during an early 10-2 spurt as Ohio raced out to a 14-5 lead. The Eagles closed to within three, at 15-12, but Katie Barker’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter gave OU a 22-15 lead at the end of the quarter.

Johnson scored eight points over a three-minute span, with a pair of 3s, as Ohio twice forged 13-point leads in the second quarter. The Bobcats settled for a 38-28 lead at the half.

EMU never got closer than 10 the rest of the way. Hooks scored 10 points in seven possessions midway through the third quarter to power a big run that left Ohio with a 20-point (55-35) lead.

EMU managed to cut the deficit to 13 heading into the fourth, but a Burke 3-pointer and Burris’ layup made it 69-52 with six minutes to go. The Eagles got to within 75-65 with 1:21 left, but neither team scored over the final 80 seconds.

With three made 3-pointers, Burke moved into a tie for third place in the Ohio record book; she’s at 217 for her career.

Ohio is not scheduled to play outside the state of Ohio again for the rest of the regular-season as the Bobcats have already knocked off all the longest road trips of the conference slate.

The Bobcats return to MAC East play on Saturday, with a 1 p.m. tip-off against Kent State (12-8, 5-4 MAC) in the Convo.

Ohio 75, Eastern Michigan 65

Ohio 22 16 24 13 — 75

Eastern Michigan 15 13 21 16 — 65

OHIO 75 (14-7, 7-3 MAC)

Cece Hooks 5 5-7 16, Katie Barker 2 1-2 7, Amani Burke 4 2-2 13, Erica Johnson 7 4-5 20, Gabby Burris 8 3-3 19, Caitlyn Kroll 0 0-0 0, Peyton Guice 0 0-0 0, Kaylee Bambule 0 0-0 0, Abby Garnett 0 0-0 0, Edecia Beck 0 0-0 0, Maddie Bazelak 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 26 15-19 75; 3-point goals — 8-31 (Burke 3-10, Johnson 2-5, Barker 2-7, Hooks 1-3, Burris 0-4, Kroll 0-1, Beck 0-1).

EASTERN MICHIGAN 65 (10-11, 5-5 MAC)

Juanita Agosto 4 2-3 10, Courtnie Lewis 5 0-3 13, Jenna Annecchiarico 4 6-7 17, Natalia Pineda 0 0-0 0, Corrione Cardwell 2 0-0 5, Kiara Johnson 4 0-2 8, RayJohn Harris 5 2-4 12, Toyosi Abiola 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 24 10-19 65; 3-point goals — 7-25 (Annecchiarico 3-9, Lewis 3-11, Cardwell 1-1, Agosto 0-2, Pineda 0-2).

TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Field goals — Ohio 26-66 (.394), 3-point goals 8-31 (.258); Eastern Michigan 24-63 (.381), 3-point goals 7-25 (.280); Free throws — Ohio 15-19 (.789), EMU 10-19 (.526); Rebounds — Ohio 39/12 offensive (Johnson 10), EMU 46/17 offensive (Annecchiarico 10); Assists — Ohio 12 (Hooks 4), EMU 14 (Annecchiarico 5); Steals — Ohio 7 (Hooks 3), EMU 5 (Agosto 3); Blocks — Ohio 1, EMU 1; Turnovers — Ohio 10, EMU 17; Personal fouls — Ohio 21, EMU 22; Attendance — n/a; Technical fouls — Ohio, none; EMU, one (Corrione Cardwell, 4:16, 4Q)

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

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