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Feb 26, 2003

Box Score

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) – Steve Esterkamp scored a career-high 31 points as Ohiobeat Virginia 78-72 Wednesday night in the Cavaliers’ first road game against aMid-American Conference school.

Brandon Hunter added 14 points including five late free throws for theBobcats (10-14), who had never played a home game against a team from theAtlantic Coast Conference.

Todd Billet and Nick Vander Laan scored 15 points apiece for the Cavaliers(14-12), who lost for the second time in three meetings against the Bobcats.

Ohio students stormed the court of the Convocation Center after theirschool’s biggest victory of the season. The Bobcats, predicted to win the MACEast, have struggled to a 6-9 conference record and fifth place in the six-teamdivision.

Hunter made 5-of-6 free throws over the final 55.7 seconds and the Bobcatsgot big defensive plays from Delvar Barrett and Thomas Stephens to hold off theCavaliers.

Barrett forced Virginia forward Elton Brown to airball a fallaway jumperfrom the baseline and Jaivon Harris made two free throws to give the Bobcats a75-68 lead.

Trailing 76-70, Billet had his layup attempt blocked from behind byStephens, who then picked up the loose ball and dribbled down the court.

Hunter was fouled and made two free throws to give the Bobcats aneight-point lead with 7.5 seconds remaining.

The Bobcats made 9-of-10 free throws over the final 1:15 and went 23-of-30at the foul line in the game. Virginia hit 9-of-13 foul shots.

Travis Watson added 11 points and Devin Smith and Brown had 10 each for theCavaliers.

Esterkamp, who averages 13.4 points a game, had 19 in the first half as Ohiotook a 36-34 lead. He made 5-of-6 3-pointers for the Bobcats, who hit 9-of-15beyond the arc as a team.

Harris made 4-of-4 3s and added 15 points for the Bobcats, and Barrettscored 10 points.

Virginia beat Ohio 90-71 two seasons ago and lost to the Bobcats 94-83 inthe 1994 Preseason NIT.

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