"He's a man-child," Marshall coach Greg White said of Hunter. "I thought it was an awesome college basketball game."
And indeed it was. Marshall jumped out to a 10-point lead on two Ardo Armpalu freet throws with 16:09 left in regulation, the biggest lead of the game. However, Ohio battled back to tie it up at 40-40 on a Brandon Hunter three-pointer. The Herd and Bobcats would tie the game 4 more times over the last 10 minutes. Marvin Black tied it for good at 63-63 with his basket a the 1:02 mark, but missed a free throw to win the game with seven seconds remaining.
Marshall's Mark Patton wrestles the ball away from Ohio's Jeff Halbert during the first half.
Ron Blackshear's three-pointer with only 9 seconds remaining in the first overtime knotted the score at 76-76. Blackshear -who had been tepid the entire game after being denied a starting spot by coach Greg White for being late for practice- hit critical shots like that one to keep Marshall in the game. Blackshear would finish with a respectable 30 points, but it came at the expense of going 9-of-27 from the field, including 5-of-18 from three point range.
In the final overtime, Ohio made 8-of-9 free throws down the stretch to keep the slim two-point margin afforded them on Jaivon Harris' three pointer with 51 seconds remaining. The Bobcats made 17 of their last 20 free throws -all in overtime- en route to an 85% night from the free throw line.
"I think that really helped us," Brandon Hunter said of OU's free-throw shooting in the two overtimes. "Rebounding and free throws. That's what really got it done." Hunter grabbed most of Ohio's 35 rebounds.
"I don't think he's ever made 11 free throws in practice," joked Ohio coach Tim O'Shea. "Toda, I thought we had some breaks go our way."
Ohio's Brandon Hunter muscled his way to 35 points and 16 rebounds to lead all scorers. Teammates Steve Esterkamp (22) and Jaivon Harris (11) were the only other Bobcats in double figures.
Blackshear's 30 points led the way for Marshall, With Marvin Black (21) and Monty Wright (11) hitting in double figures as well.
Marshall shot just 41.5% from the field (27-of-65), while Ohio hit 48.2% (27-of-56) in the win.
"We just didn't finish the game," summed up Marshall's Marvin Black.
Marshall falls to 9-8 overall, 5-4 in the MAC. Ohio kept a dismal season at bay for one more game with the win, improving their record to 6-10 overall and 3-5 in MAC play.