GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats put their perfect Mid-American Conference record on the line as they visit Millett Hall for the Battle of the Bricks against the Miami-Ohio RedHawks.
The Bobcats and RedHawks will meet in the 190th edition of the Battle of the Bricks rivalry game. Ohio holds a 98-91 edge in the all-time series and won both meetings last season. The teams first met during the 1907-08 season.
Ohio is thriving in its inaugural year under the watch of coach Jim Christian and will look to improve to 5-0 in MAC play for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The Bobcats notched their fifth consecutive win on Saturday by holding off Toledo for a 76-67 decision. However, Ohio is just 1-4 in true road games on the season. The victories have poured in courtesy of the team's unselfish play, as it has dealt out at least 25 assists in five of the past eight games, averaging 22.6 during that span. Reggie Keely stepped up to lead the team with 24 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting, while Walter Offutt added 14 points. Ivo Baltic and Ricardo Johnson each chipped in 13 in the victory.
Star senior point guard D.J. Cooper was limited to seven points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field, marking the second consecutive game he failed to reach double-digits. Cooper is still pacing the Bobcats with 13.9 ppg and ranks second among Division I players with 8.3 assists per tilt. Offutt is second in scoring with 11.7 ppg and Keely is a close third at 11.4 ppg. The steady production from Ohio's trio has helped it acquire the second best average scoring margin (+11.7) in the MAC.
The RedHawks had their two-game winning streak snapped on Saturday as they fell, 65-58, at Eastern Michigan to drop to an even 2-2 MAC record. Coach John Cooper's unit trailed the Eagles by 14 at the midway point of the second half, but John Harris brought them to within two with 1:49 remaining by knocking down a 3-pointer. EMU sealed the game at the free-throw line, despite 23 combined points from Will Felder and Allen Roberts.
Miami is average 4.4 points less than its opposition this season. The RedHawks are one of the most generous team in the MAC, allowing 69.4 ppg on 46.9 percent shooting from the field. Roberts is an all-conference caliber guard, leading Miami with 13.1 points per game. Felder (10.9 ppg) and freshman guard Reggie Johnson (9.2 ppg) are both capable of filling it up on occasion as well.
Cooper should have no problem getting back on track versus a rookie counterpart. Although Ohio has found its share of troubles away from Athens, it would need to totally collapse to drop one to the unimpressive RedHawks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 71, Miami-Ohio 58
01/23 10:34:49 ET
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