Cooper helps Ohio defeat Miami (Ohio) 63-54

The Associated Press

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) D.J. Cooper scored 14 points and broke Ohio's all-time assists mark and Jon Smith had a career-high 13 points as the Bobcats defeated Miami (Ohio) 63-54 Saturday and locked up at least a bye in the Mid-American Conference tournament.

Cooper also had five steals, four rebounds and four assists for Ohio (24-7, 11-5), breaking Dennis Whitaker's mark of 651 assists that has stood since 1980. Cooper now has 654.

Trailing 4-3, the Bobcats went on a 7-0 run capped by Ricardo Johnson's jumper to pull ahead for good.

Ohio led by 12 in the first half and 28-24 at the break. The Bobcats again built a 12-point lead, which the RedHawks (9-20, 5-11) whittled to 52-48 with 2:22 remaining. Ohio then hit 11 of 12 free throws, with Cooper making 5 of 6.

Brian Sullivan's 11 points led Miami, which also lost to Ohio 69-65 on Jan. 21.