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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,080) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Toledo 10-0, Ohio 9-3. Away Record: Toledo 6-2, Ohio 6-2. Neutral Record: Toledo 2-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 6-1, Ohio 5-2. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 68-54.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets take aim at their seventh consecutive victory as they visit the Convocation Center for a Mid-Aerican Conference bout with the Ohio University Bobcats.
Toledo continued its impressive campaign on Wednesday with an 83-70 victory over the Miami-Ohio RedHawks. Coach Tod Kowalczyk's squad improved to 18-2 overall with the win. The Rockets hold a two-game lead over Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan for first place in the West Division standings. Toledo's uptempo style of play has helped it score 83.2 ppg, which leads the MAC and ranks 13th nationally. The Rockets are at the other end of the spectrum defensively as they are giving up 73.6 ppg, which is the highest points per game allowed in the conference.
Coach Jim Christian guided his Bobcats to their fourth win in five games on Wednesday as they held off Central Michigan for a 71-67 decision at the Convocation Center. Ohio is in second place in the East Division standings with a 5-2 mark in MAC play with both of its losses to Akron (83-80) and Bowling Green (58-56) coming by just a single possession. Although the Bobcats are scoring just under 13 ppg less than the visitors, they are pacing the conference in scoring defense (63 ppg). Ohio has won 10 straight games against MAC West opponents and is 4-0 this season.
Saturday will be the 122nd matchup between the Rockets and Ohio in history. The Bobcats hold a 67-54 all-time series edge after winning six of the last seven meetings.
Toledo continued to use a collective effort in its 13-point win over the RedHawks at Millett Hall. Justin Drummond registered a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Nathan Boothe added 14 points and three blocks. J.D. Weatherspoon contributed 13 points and Matt Smith tallied 10 points in nine minutes off the bench. Five different Rockets own double-digit scoring averages through 20 games with Drummond leading the pack at 14.5 ppg. Rian Pearson is posting 14.2 ppg and Julius Brown also plays a vital role with 13.9 ppg and a team-high 6.6 apg.
The Bobcats' excellent play on the defensive end is in large part due to the joint efforts of Jon Smith and Maurice Ndour, who are combining for 4.2 blocks per tilt. Ndour showed he is much more than a shot blocker versus CMU as he registered his third double-double of the campaign with 21 points and 11 boards. Ohio trailed by 18 points in the second period before it used a 21-3 surge to tie the score. Nick Kellogg scored 15 points and dished out six assists, while Smith posted 10 points, nine boards and three blocks. Kellogg is one of the premier outside shooters in the MAC which has helped him produce 14.4 ppg.
Toledo has survived a few close calls this season, but it will be very difficult to just get by the Bobcats in Athens. If the game remains close, Ohio's home court advantage will play a huge role in the outcome. Kellogg and Ndour have been working very well as a tandem, but they will have a tough task of matching a very deep Rockets unit.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 76, Toledo 72
02/01 10:14:56 ET
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