CLEVELAND -- D.J. Cooper scored 18 points -- 15 on 3-pointers in the first half -- and Ohio withstood league MVP Mitchell Watt's strong second half and poor free-throw shooting in the final seconds to beat Buffalo 77-74 on Friday night and move into the Mid-American Conference tournament championship.
The third-seeded Bobcats (26-7), who missed four free throws in the last 25 seconds, will face top-seeded Akron in Saturday night's title game. The winner receives the league's automatic NCAA tournament bid. The schools split their two regular-season games.
Watt scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds for the Bulls (19-10), who missed three potential game-tying 3-pointers in the last nine seconds. The final one, a heave from half court by Jarod Oldham, bounced off the back of the rim.