Updated Thu, Jan 16, 2014 11:33 am
For the second straight game, Ohio (8-7, 3-1) dressed only eight players. For the third straight game, Ohio won. This time it was the Kent State Golden Flashes (3-12, 0-4) who fell at home 76-59.
Kent State held a 32-28 lead at the half, but an Ohio 16-2 run to start the second half put the road team in the driver’s seat. Ohio held the lead for 26:15, while the Golden Flashes only held the advantage for 7:35. Playing from behind creates desperation; desperation creates forced play, leading to 17 turnovers and a 44-31 Ohio second half advantage.
Five different Ohio players finished with double-digit point totals, with forward Hannah Boesinger, a native of nearby Hudson, Ohio, leading the ‘Cats with 18 points. Fellow forward Lexie Baldwin hit all five of her free throws and finished two rebounds away from a double-double, racking up 13 points and eight boards.
Boesinger contributed four of Ohio’s 10 made shots from beyond the arc.
With such a short roster, early foul trouble forced Ohio to play disciplined man-to-man defense in the second half. Boesinger went into the half with four fouls, but managed to avoid the fatal fifth violation. Three of her teammates also finished the game with four fouls, but not a single player was forced to sit.
From the opening tip, Kent State asserted its dominance in the paint. The Golden Flashes outrebounded Ohio 44-27 and put back 16 second-chance points. Though the ‘Cats lost the battle of the glass, much of Kent State’s offensive productivity came from its guards, an unusual occurrence for the Golden Flashes.
Guards Ashley Evans and Amber Dunlap led the team in scoring with 12 and 19 points, respectively. Forwards Montia Johnson and Cici Shannon came into the matchup as the team’s leading scorers, but only mustered up eight points each. Opportunities were there to score; they had eight offensive rebounds between the two of them, but the shots would not fall.
In a game that saw seven lead changes, missed shots from close-range sank the Golden Flashes.
The Bobcats’ six turnovers were 10 below their season average. Combine that with 13 assists and a highly-functional team that can move the ball well won the game.
Momentum continues to roll for Ohio as the ‘Cats pick up their first three-game conference win streak since 2008-09. The streak is tied for the longest string of wins since 2007-08 when the ‘Cats won five in a row against conference foes.
Ohio will go for its fourth straight win against Ball State (7-8, 2-2) on Jan. 18.