LIMA — University of Northwestern Ohio All-American Lawrence Jackson was saddled with foul trouble.
Enter UNOH point guard Sadeeq Bello and his friends.
Bello had 20 points, six rebounds and four assists to power the Racers to a 63-58 men’s college basketball victory over Michigan-Dearborn Wednesday at UNOH.
Bello continually found small seams in the Dearborn defense and attacked them with blinding-speed drives to the basket.
“Everyone is going to be on him (Jackson) since he is an All-American,” Bello said. “The role players had to step up and that’s what we tried to do. … I try to attack the basket and try to dish it off, or if I’m open, I’m going to shoot it.”
Bello’s end-to-end fast-break layup gave UNOH the lead to stay, 59-58, with 53 seconds to go.
“I saw an opening in the lane and it parted for me, and I said, ‘I’m going to take it,’ ” Bello said.
UNOH stands 6-2, 4-0 in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference. Dearborn is 7-4, 2-2 in the WHAC.
“We had trouble scoring the entire time and their mixing of defenses kept us off balance,” UNOH coach Chris Adams said.
Jackson, who had four fouls with 9:37 to go, was able to contribute to the cause in the final two minutes with a key 3-pointer, a big offensive rebound and two foul shots at the end to ice it. Jackson finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Corbin Pierce had 12 points, four rebounds and hit two 3-pointers for the Racers. Xander Smart added nine points.
The Racers’ Ziar Anderson had four points, seven rebounds and held Dearborn’s leading scorer Marcus Williams to three points, 14 under his season’s average.
Kenny Lemon had four points and six rebounds for UNOH.
“I thought we had some good plays by Xander Smart and I thought Kenny Lemon gave us some energy off the bench,” Adams said. “And as quiet as Lawrence Jackson was, offensively, when we needed him, he hit the big three and got the huge offensive rebound off the missed free throw.”
With Jackson in foul trouble early, UNOH led 25-23 at the half. But the Racers’ defense and transition game picked up in the second half.
After Bello’s driving layup gave UNOH the lead 59-58, he then missed a foul shot, but Jackson got the offensive board.
Bello then hit both ends of a one-and-one to give the Racers a 61-58 lead with 20 seconds left.
UNOH won the boards, 35-23. The Racers shot 42 percent from the field and held Dearborn to 39 percent.
Jeff Cain led Dearborn with 17 points and was 3 of 7 on 3-pointers.
UNOH women 67,
Michigan Dearborn 64
Michigan Dearborn led by 14 in the first half and by eight at the half.
But UNOH’s Sogona Sidibe, from the Ivory Coast, scored eight points in the third quarter to ignite a 9-0 run and pull the Racers on top 44-43 with 1:29 to go in the third.
“Our kids battled,” UNOH coach Mike Armbruster said. “And she (Sidibe) has the ability to do that every game. And you have to give Linda Ulasi a lot of credit. She gave us a shot in the arm in energy.”
Added Sidibe, “I had to do what I had to do to get us back in this game. … And we played more man in the second half and didn’t worry about switching on their best players.”
Sidibe finished with 18 points and hit 6 of 10 from the field. Linda Ulasi had 12 points and 10 rebounds for UNOH.
Guard Audrianna Walker had 10 points and five rebounds. Luisa Smith had eight points, with two 3-pointers.
Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Racers the lead to stay 48-46 with five seconds left in the third quarter.
It stayed close to the end.
Shatisha Dukes made two free throws with 16 seconds left to give UNOH a 66-63 lead. Laken Johnson made one of two foul shots to make it 67-64 with 2.4 seconds to go.
Dearborn rushed the ball down the floor, but missed a 22-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.
UNOH shot 55 percent from the field and won the rebounding battled, 30-19.
UNOH is 4-5, 3-1 in the WHAC. Dearborn is 3-9, 0-4 in the WHAC.
“That chemistry was not there at first (tonight) and we started rough,” Sidibe. “But I’m a senior and had to do it.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0468.