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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).

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.

Updated January 5, 2019

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