Updated Fri, Dec 14, 2012 1:17 pm
Ohio (7-2, 0-0 MAC) returns to the court this Saturday against Winthrop (3-4, 0-0 Big South) after having a week off from their victory against Oakland.
The Bobcats will look to win their 16th straight home game and improve to 8-0 at the Convocation Center this season. Winthrop, on the other hand, is looking for its first road victory this season, as the Eagles have started off 0-3 away from their home crowd.
Winthrop entered the season with several new faces filling some important roles on the team. Four graduating starters and a head coach have been replaced with a younger, less experienced roster and first-time head coach Pat Kelsey.
The Eagles started the season with a strong 80-48 win over St. Andrews, where Derrick Henry scored a career-high 26 points. They have gone 2-4 since. Among their losses, Winthrop got run over by VCU 90-54 and lost to Wofford 70-55. The Bobcats beat Wofford earlier this season 73-50.
As the Eagles slowed down after their season opener, Henry did as well. Winthrop’s leading scorer – 15.9 points a game – came out of nowhere after only averaging 2.5 points last season. His strong sophomore campaign has helped the team, but in the past two games, his scoring has declined, shooting a combined 6-of-23 for 21 points.
The Eagles’ lone returning starter this season is Joab Jerome. The defensive specialist averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds last season, but has improved those numbers to 7.2 points and 4.3 boards this season. He’s also shooting a career-high 48.6% from the field.
With their starters gone, Winthrop expected Gideon Gamble to be the major contributor after averaging 3.8 points and 1.5 rebounds off the bench last season. The 6-foot-7 senior should give the Bobcats problems, as he has averaged a career-best 9.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in seven games. He also is playing the most minutes per game of his career.
This season has been a struggle for Winthrop, who is ranked 342nd in the nation with 8.6 assists a game. The Bobcats are ranked 13th in the same category. It has been an adjustment period for Winthrop with a new coach and team, and their struggles are expected.
The Bobcats will welcome Winthrop to Athens this Saturday. The game will tipoff at 2 p.m.