GAME NOTES: The Ohio Bobcats will hope to bring out the brooms for a sweep as they visit the Bowling Green Falcons for a Mid-American Conference rematch at the Stroh Center.
Ohio held off BGSU on Feb. 9 in the first bout of the season series in Athens for a 72-63 victory. The Bobcats never trailed in the contest as they connected on 44.6 percent of their field goal attempts and outscored the Falcons, 16-10, at the free-throw line. Reggie Keely produced a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards to lead Ohio. BGSU connected on 41.4 percent of its field goal tries but could not overcome a 13-1 Ohio run in the second stanza. Still, the Falcons are 71-63 all-time versus Ohio.
Ohio picked up some steam during February with five wins in a row heading into last weekend, but its run was deflated when it dropped an 81-62 decision at Belmont in the BracketBusters event. The Bobcats returned home to square off with the MAC leading Zips with a chance to avenge their only loss in league action of the campaign on Wednesday, but they fell, 88-81, in overtime to Akron to fall to 20-8 on the season. Coach Jim Christian's unit had its streak of 19 consecutive home wins snapped with the loss and now it will begin its two-game road swing after winning five of its first 11 true away games.
Ohio's D.J. Cooper had a forgettable appearance against Belmont, as he scored just six points and made just 1 of 7 3-point attempts in the loss. Cooper bounced back to his usual all-conference form to tally 26 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals versus Akron. He is one of the top passers in the nation with 7.5 assists per tilt and his efforts are a big reason why the Bobcats rank first among Division I programs in assists per game (18.5). Keely and Walter Offutt are both tallying over 11 ppg to help the Bobcats average 74.3.
Bowling Green responded to its unpleasant BracketBuster experience, where it was defeated 88-75 at IUPU-Fort Wayne, with a defensively charged, 52-44 home victory over Miami-Ohio. BGSU's win over the RedHawks improved it to 10-3 at the Stroh Center on the season with only one of the setbacks coming in conference play. Coach Louis Orr's unit is just the 10th most productive in terms of scoring offense in the MAC at 62.7 ppg, but it is the third best on the other end with only 62.8 points allowed per game.
A'uston Calhoun had his streak of 12 straight double-digit scoring finishes snapped at IPFW where he was held to two points, but he followed it up with nine points and eight rebounds versus Miami. Jordon Crawford produced 19 as BGSU overcame a seven-point halftime deficit holding the RedHawks to just 20 percent efficiency from the field after the break. Calhoun (15.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Crawford (15.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) are the leaders regularly. Richaun Holmes has already set a school single-season record with 65 blocked shots.
The Bobcats' troubles away from home and the Falcons' strength in the Stroh Center will make this one a closely contested duel. Ohio can potentially run away with it if it continues to play at the same level it did against Akron. The Bobcats were held to 6-of-23 shooting from beyond the arc on their own floor by BGSU, so the Falcons could steal a win if they manage to duplicate their strong perimeter defense in this one.
Sports Network Projected Outcome: Bowling Green 66, Ohio University 64
03/02 10:45:54 ET
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