Updated Sat, Jan 5, 2013 7:09 pm
If Ohio Men’s Basketball resolved to reverse some recent trends in 2013 and return to the Bobcat ways of old, Saturday was a clear indication that the calendar year is off to a good start. Ohio stampeded over the Thundering Herd of Marshall, downing its rivals from Huntington, W.Va., 94-57 in a dominating performance from start to finish.
Out and Running:
The Bobcats began the game about as well as Coach Christian could have asked. Nick Kellogg, who was 0-for-12 from the field over the previous two games, nailed a three-point shot on the contest’s opening possessions to get the ball rolling for Ohio. The next few possessions saw a couple steals and three close-range buckets, and Ohio was out to a 9-1 lead, forcing a Marshall timeout.
But Ohio continued to pressure the ball. After a Thundering Herd three, the Bobcats turned three more Marshall turnovers into six points, forcing another Marshall timeout before the first media stoppage. Ohio was up 15-4 after just four and a half minutes.
Coming out of the under-12:00 media timeout, Ohio held a 20-10 lead. On the ensuing Marshall possession, D.J. Cooper pressured Marshall’s Tamron Manning for a steal then found T.J. Hall for a three-pointer on the other end.
That play sparked a 19-2 Ohio run during which the Bobcat floor general assisted on seven straight buckets and earned two steals. Cooper capped the run with a pull-up NBA-range three of his own on the left wing. At the 8:00 mark, Ohio’s lead had grown to 39-12.
Cooper finished the game with 12 points and 17 assists, setting the single-game school record in the latter category. He also added four steals and six rebounds.
All Cylinders Clicking:
Jim Christian switched up the Ohio starting five once again Saturday, opting for Ivo Baltic and Reggie Keely down low. The decision appeared to pay off as Ohio’s five highest-scoring offensive weapons were on the floor to set the tone early.
The Bobcats put up a season-high 56 points in the first half, 39 of them coming off 19 Marshall turnovers. Ohio also scored 26 points in the paint and shot 74 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
The Green and White coasted to victory in the second half.
New Year’s Resolutions:
In the spirit of the New Year, here are some figurative 2013 resolutions that appeared to be in the works Saturday.
Jim Christian: Find a lineup that works – Christian played Cooper, Offutt, Kellogg, Baltic and Keely from the tip for the first time this season, and the result was the best win of his short tenure as all five starters finished in double figures. Up next for Coach: win on the road.
Ivo Baltic: Be more aggressive – Baltic scored six points before the first media timeout and made his first five shots on the way to 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He did not, however, get to the free-throw line.
Nick Kellogg: Stop missing open looks – Kellogg began the game with his first basket since Dec. 19 and ended it with a season-high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including five three-pointers. Had it not been for a missed layup with 3:26 to play, the junior would have set a new career high for points.
D.J. Cooper: Become the greatest player in school history – See: Cooper, Unconscious
Reggie Keely: Make a three-point shot – At the 4:15 mark in the second half, with Ohio comfortably ahead 84-49, Keely spotted up from the top of the key and connected on his first career three-point shot. Kellogg, a little more familiar with the three ball, was credited with the assist. Keely finished with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
Walter Offutt: Remain the steady leader/glue guy Ohio needs – On an exciting day for Ohio Men’s Basketball, Offutt had a quiet 13 points—his ninth time this season in double figures—and two steals while staying out of foul trouble and earning six free throw attempts. Performances like Saturday’s will come in handy in conference play.