James scores 20, NIU beats Ohio in overtime MAC opener

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — Lacey James scored 20 points, including the tiebreaking free throws in overtime, and Northern Illinois beat Ohio 72-66 on Saturday in a Mid-American Conference opener.

James was fouled on a putback — he finished with 14 rebounds — and made two free throws for a 68-66 lead and added two more with 48 seconds left. He missed a pair seconds later but the Huskies retained possession and Levi Bradley added the final points at the line.

Ohio’s Ben Vander Plas was fouled making a tying 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left in regulation but missed the free throw before NIU missed a shot and a tip-in on the other end to send the game to overtime.

Eugene German added 16 points with four 3-pointers for NIU (8-6).

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Teyvion Kirk scored 22 points with nine rebounds for Ohio (8-5), which lost for the first time in eight home games this season after blowing a 14-point lead in under three minutes early in the second half.

The Bobcats made only 11 of 25 free throws.

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