Updated Fri, Mar 21, 2014 5:37 pm
Throughout the regular season, the Bobcats exhibited their resiliency night after night. That resiliency remains with the team in its postseason run.
Ohio defeated Cleveland State in the first round of the CIT on Wednesday without senior leader Jon Smith, who left the team earlier this week. The Bobcats were just fine as two young forwards stepped up in Smith’s absence. Sophomore forward Treg Setty posted a Bobcat career-high 13 points against the Vikings, including Ohio’s final nine points of the first half.
After Setty’s impressive first half, it freshman Antonio Campbell's time. The frosh forward has significantly elevated his play over the last month and continued that trend against the Vikings. Cleveland State had no answer for Campbell, as he scored 19 of his career-high 21 points in the second half, including a pair of game-winning free throws.
The Bobcats will once again need their big men to step up Saturday when they take on Wright State (21-14, 10-6) in the second round of the CIT. Wright State fell just short of an NCAA Tournament berth, losing to Milwaukee, 69-63, in the Horizon League championship game. The Raiders downed Cleveland State in the Horizon League semifinal.
Wright State is led by 6-foot-10 forward A.J. Pacher. The senior averages a team-high 11.3 points per game and is coming off a 20 point performance against East Carolina. Without Smith, Pacher’s length and scoring ability may create problems for Ohio.
Pacher will be the main focus for Jim Christian’s squad, as the senior is the only player that averages double-figure points for the Raiders. Unlike Ohio’s last Horizon League opponent, Wright State struggles with scoring and prefers low-scoring, defensive affairs. The Raiders finished the regular season with the top scoring defense in the Horizon league, giving up only 62.2 points per game. Those numbers were also good enough for 22nd in the nation.
Wright State split two games with Mid-American Conference teams this season, losing to Miami and beating Bowling Green. Ohio beat both teams at least once this season.
Both of the contests, as many of Wright State’s games were this season, were defensive battles. The Raiders fell to the RedHawks, who Ohio beat three times this season, 59-56 in Oxford.
The Raiders defeated Bowling Green, 46-43, in what can only be described as ugly fashion. Wright State only shot 37.6 percent from the field, did not make a single 3-pointer and made only 10 of their 17 free throw attempts.
If Ohio comes out on top against Wright State, it will play in the tournament’s quarterfinals, which take place between March 25-27. Exact dates are yet to be determined.