Updated Tue, Jan 14, 2014 8:27 pm
Ohio (11-4, 1-1) will look to bounce back after a difficult double overtime loss to Akron when Ball State journeys to the Convo on Wednesday.
The Bobcats had multiple chances to close out the game against Akron, but they were unable to seal the deal.
With about 0:20 left in regulation and the game tied at 60-60, Ohio had possession and was looking for a winning score. The Bobcats tried for a Nick Kellogg 3-pointer in the corner, but Akron closed out on Kellogg quickly, forcing him to put the ball on the floor. The senior guard drove to the baseline, but a misstep out of bounds turned the ball back to Akron.
Then with 1:31 left in the first overtime period, Ohio held a 68-63 lead, but it could not hold on to the lead. Jake Kretzer sank a contested 3-pointer to draw the game to 68-66. After a Stevie Taylor jump shot and a Quincy Diggs 3-pointer, the Bobcats had a 70-69 lead and Nick Kellogg at the line with a chance to put Ohio up three points.
Kellogg, who is normally a reliable free throw shooter, only made one of two attempts and in Akron’s next possession, Diggs tied the game on a mid-range jump shot and sent the game into double overtime.
Ohio will need to convert on these types of opportunities going forward if it wants to be a contender in the Mid-American Conference. It cannot let games slip away because plenty of teams will be vying for the MAC title in 2014. There are three other teams in the MAC East alone that have legitimate shots at the MAC title in Akron, Kent State and Buffalo.
Luckily for Ohio, its next opponent provides the Bobcats with a good bounce back opportunity. Ball State finds itself at the bottom of the MAC West with a 3-10 (0-2) record.
The Cardinals come into the game losers of two straight. They dropped their MAC-opener against Akron, 72-68. Ball State struggled offensively against the Zips, shooting just 37 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point land.
Ball State fell to Kent State, 86-74, in its most recent contest. A lack of offensive production was once again the Cardinals undoing. They went scoreless for nearly four minutes in the second half and they saw their lead over the Golden Flashes evaporate.
Ball State has four players that average double figure points. However, two of them shoot under 40 percent from the field. Zavier Turner, the team’s leading scorer at nearly 13 points per game, shoots 39 percent from the field, and Jesse Berry, who averages nearly 11 points per game, only shoots about 34 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range.
The Cardinals’ inability to score has been a season long battle. They only average 68 points per game while shooting only 42 percent from the floor.
This should give Ohio a major advantage in Wednesday’s matchup, as the Bobcats are normally a sound defensive team. They play aggressive perimeter defense and have a pair of big men that are skilled shot blockers in the front court in Maurice Ndour and Jon Smith.
Ohio and Ball State will square off at 8 p.m.