Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2013 12:24 am
The Ohio men’s basketball team built a demanding lead in the first half and never looked back, defeating the Eastern Michigan Eagles Wednesday night, 73-50. The Bobcats improved to 6-0 against Mid-American Conference West opponents for the first time in school history.
Ferocious First Half: The Bobcats weren’t allowing Eastern Michigan to get an easy bucket in the first ten minutes, and that remained true for the entire first half. The Eagles shot just 29.2% from the field and committed nine turnovers.
Ohio was doing it all, including the stats that don’t show up in a box score. In their early possessions, Eastern Michigan had two shot clock violations and was called for two offensive charges.
Ohio built their 20-point lead off of a 12-0 run after Eastern Michigan’s Glenn Bryant hit a three pointer at the 18-minute mark. The Bobcats knocked down their first seven shots to jump out to an early 21-8 lead.
Hitting the boards: For the first time this season, the Bobcats notched 40-plus rebounds in one game, outrebounding Eastern Michigan, 42-35. Ivo Baltic led the game with nine rebounds. Reggie Keely only pulled down four rebounds, but was the game's leading scorer with 20 points.
Eastern Michigan was able to pull down more offensive boards, though, something that was an issue for the Bobcats heading down the stretch. The Eagles had 10 offensive rebounds and 26 overall in the second half.
D.J. Cooper’s Historic Night: The Ohio point guard made several leaps up the NCAA Division I record board in career assists and steals. Cooper recorded 16 points, 10 assists and 5 steals on the night, which ties him with Andre LaFleur for 13th all-time with 894 assists in his career. He is also now the sole owner of the 24th most steals in NCAA history with 316 in his career.
Eagles head coach Rob Murphy on Ohio’s change from last season: “They have a different type of confidence, a different arrogance to themselves. And not in a bad way, a very positive way. They’re just a very confident bunch, who believe when they hit the floor, when it’s time to compete, they’re going to win.”
Next up: The Bobcats will travel to Nashville, Tn. to take on the Belmont Bruins in the 11th annual ESPN BracketBusters. The 10 p.m. game will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday.