Balanced Effort Leads CMU Past Ohio, 76-69

MOUNT PLEASANT - Jacolby Hardiman's career night led the Central Michigan University men's basketball team to a 76-69 win over the Ohio Bobcats in Rose Arena on Thursday.

Jacolby Hardiman tied a career high with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and it was the 10th time he has scored in double figures.

The win is the Chippewa's second-straight, both in Mid-American Conference play. Central Michigan improves to 6-12 on the season and evens its record at 3-3 in the MAC with the victory.

"It is exciting to see the team getting better," head coach Ernie Zeigler said. "Tonight was a great effort by everyone on the roster; the team is playing with a lot more confidence."

The Chippewas found themselves up 20-12 with 6:24 remaining in the first half, but the Bobcats began pressuring on defense and ended the frame on an 18-7 run to take a 30-29 lead at the break.

"We have been trying to be more patient offensively and slow the game down to limit our opponent's possessions the last two games," Zeigler said. "Ohio switched things up and tried to get us to pick up our tempo late in the first half."

The game remained tight in the second half, as the teams continued to exchange leads with neither team going ahead by more than five points.

OU held a two-point lead nearly halfway through the final 20 minutes, but CMU used a 10-0 run that spanned nearly six minutes to go ahead 58-50 with 4:41 remaining. The Chippewas never relinquished the lead and went up as many as 10 points on three occasions down the stretch.

Four Chippewas scored in double figures, led by Hardiman's 20. Robbie Harman poured in 19 points while going 4-for-6 from long range, Jordan Bitzer finished with 14 points and went 7-for-8 from the charity stripe and Marcus Van tallied 14 and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.

Ohio's Devaughn Washington posted a double-double, leading all players with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Jerome Tillman finished with 10 points, nearly half his team-leading scoring average. Michael Allen also chipped in 10 points.

Central shot a blistering 57.1 percent from the floor, a season high. Ohio finished at a .478 clip. The Bobcats owned a slight edge in rebounding (27-26), but Central attempted a season-high 39 free throws, converting on 23 (59 percent) compared to Ohio's 20-for-28 mark (71.4 percent).

The Chippewas have a short turnaround because of the game being postponed a day. CMU heads to Akron for a noon tipoff on Saturday.

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