Dec. 19, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. (UMassAthletics.com) – Jesse Morgan scored a career-high 35 points including a Mullins Center record 24 in the first half as the UMass men’s basketball team defeated Ohio 85-76 on Wednesday night. The first half performance sparked a key 23-to-1 run for the Minutemen helping them overcome a hot start for the Bobcats.
Morgan’s shooting performance was the 11th-best scoring effort by a player in the country this season and the most from an Atlantic 10 player. The Philadelphia native finished the game hitting 12-of-18 from the floor and 7-of-10 from behind the arc.
Ohio (7-4) hit six of its first eight field goals in the game taking an 18-6 lead at the 14:48 mark of the first half. The Bobcats went silent for a seven minute, 18 second stretch from that point missing eight straight field goals and committing five turnovers.
While the Bobcats struggled, Morgan and UMass (6-3) heated up with the 23-to-1 run to take a 29-19 lead with 8:04 to go. Morgan had 22 of his 24 points in a six minute, 22 second span that helped swing the balance in favor of the Minutemen.
In the second half, Ohio was able to tie the game 53-53 on a D.J. Cooper three-pointer from the right wing in the first five minutes of play. Another trio of treys for Morgan pushed the Minutemen back ahead 66-55 as UMass went on a 13-to-2 run which proved a difference maker down the stretch.
The Bobcats managed to cut the lead back down to six, 78-72, with just over four minutes left in the game, but a Maxie Esho steal and fast break dunk ended any momentum Ohio had.
Cooper led Ohio with 23 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. Walter Offutt scored 18 points, while Nick Kellogg added 15 points.
The Minutemen will return to action on Saturday at the Mullins Center against East Carolina at 1:30 PM.