Oakland (3-6) at Ohio University (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (13,168) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Oakland 2-0, Ohio 6-0. Away Record: Oakland 1-6, Ohio 0-2. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats look to bounce back as they return home to host the Oakland Golden Grizzlies for a non-conference tilt at the Convocation Center.
Although the Golden Grizzlies are coming off an 88-77 win over NAIA foe Rochester, they still have only three wins in their first nine outings. The victory snapped a three-game losing slide that consisted of road setbacks to Michigan State (70-52), Tennessee (77-50), and Western Michigan (76-72). Oakland's schedule has not been favorable so far, as seven of its games have been away from home. Its only win over a Division I opponent came on Nov. 20 when it took down Texas Southern by two points in a thriller in Houston. Coach Greg Kampe's squad has some positives to reflect on, such as its Summit League leading total of 76 steals. However, Oakland was held under 40 percent shooting and averaged just 58 ppg in its most recent losing slide.
Ohio suffered its second loss in a row on Wednesday as it was trounced 84-58 by Memphis at FedExForum. The Bobcats will be happy to return to the Convocation Center, where they have won 15 games in a row dating back to last season. Coach Jim Christian's squad still has a decent 6-2 record due to its season opening six-game winning streak that included impressive routs of Portland (81-52), UNC-Wilmington (85-47), and Richmond (73-48). Although it scored a season-low 58 points last time out, Ohio is averaging 73.8 ppg, which is 11.8 points more than its opposition.
This will be the fifth meeting in history on the hardwood between these schools. Ohio holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series, but Oakland picked up a 78-66 decision on Nov. 15, 2010, which was its last visit to the Convocation Center.
Oakland, which averaged over 80 ppg each of the past three seasons, finally looked to be in rhythm on the offensive end versus Rochester as it connected on 53.8 percent of its field goal attempts and added 25 points at the foul line. The Golden Grizzlies led by 28 points in the second half before RC cut the deficit to 11 points near the end of the contest. Junior guard Travis Bader led the way with 32 points on 9-of-12 shooting including six makes from beyond the arc in the contest. Bader is averaging a team-high 19 ppg. The team's second leading scorer, Corey Petros, added 23 points in the game to raise his season average to 15.3 points per contest. The sophomore center is also grabbing a team-high 7.2 boards per game. Junior guard Duke Mondy only netted six points his last time out, but he is still producing 14 ppg.
The Bobcats began their matchup with Memphis on a good note and held a 20-16 lead with 7:21 left in the first half, but the Tigers closed out the opening period on a 20-8 run to take full control. Ohio converted only 37.5 percent of its field goals including just 6-of-25 from distance. It also committed 17 turnovers in the loss. Senior D.J. Cooper scored a team-high 19 points, but the star point guard had four assists to five turnovers. Junior forward Jon Smith scored 12 points in the contest while Ivo Baltic, Walter Offutt, and Nick Kellogg all struggled. Cooper is leading the team with 15.3 ppg while Offutt (11.9 ppg) and Baltic (10.8) ranked second and third on the team's scoring leaderboard, respectively.
While Ohio may have shown it is not quite ready to challenge the elite programs in the nation, it should be able to fend off the Golden Grizzlies. Cooper is one of the top floor generals in the country and he rarely gets caught in slumps. The Bobcats' role players should be able to find more success against Oakland's suspect defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 79, Oakland 62
12/08 10:33:12 ET