No matter what they try or where they play, the Ohio Bobcats men’s basketball team cannot seem to knock off the Robert Morris Colonials.
Karvel Anderson’s perfect night gave the Colonials their fourth straight win over the Bobcats, in an impressive 84-76 home win on Saturday night.
Anderson scored a game-high 28 points on 10-of-10 shooting, including 8-of-8 from behind the three-point line, and grabbed four rebounds.
The Bobcats suffered their first loss of the season (6-1) and never claimed the lead in their first road game of the season.
“We’re going to learn from it,” Walter Offutt said of the shocking defeat. “The best thing we can do is watch film, learn from it and get better.”
Ohio head coach Jim Christian also spoke about the team’s lackluster performance.
“We have got to get better,” he said. “The sky is not falling, but we got to get better.”
D.J. Cooper led the Bobcats once again as he scored a team-high 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Cooper also collected two rebounds and dished out 10 assists.
Ohio was able to keep the game close by shooting 41.9 percent from the three-point line (13-of-31), but Robert Morris shot a sizzling 56.4 percent (22-of-39) in the contest to improve their record to 4-4 in the early stages of the season.
Christian spoke about the successful shooting display Robert Morris put on in front of their home fans.
“The entire night, I thought we were a step late getting out to their shooters,” he said.
In the early stages of the contest, both teams seemed to be ready for a close encounter. A Walter Offutt three-point make and a Reggie Keely layup tied the game at five with 15:46 left in the first half.
An Ivo Baltic layup cut the Robert Morris lead to two at 12-10, but Anderson took over the contest at that point.
Four consecutive three point makes by the junior from Elkart, Ind., gave the Colonials a comfortable 24-10 lead with 10:50 left in the first half.
The Bobcats eventually found themselves down 31-12 with 7:09 left, but they got a huge spark from one of their key bench players.
After a Keely layup and two free throws from Offutt cut the lead to 31-17, sophomore point guard Stevie Taylor knocked down two free throws of his own and buried two three-pointers to pull Ohio within 10, 35-25, with 2:33 left in the first stanza.
Ohio closed the half with another three-point basket by Taylor, and only trailed by six, 37-31, at halftime
Taylor finished the game with 11 points on three-of-six shooting in 14 minutes of action. He also forced two steals and collected one rebound and one assist.
The Bobcats forced nine first-half turnovers, and assisted on nine of their 10 made field goals.
In the second half, Anderson continued his hot shooting. He scored the first eight points of the half for the Colonials, and they had a 45-37 lead with 17:15 left in the contest.
Despite Anderson’s scoring output, Ohio kept the game close. Offutt made a three pointer, and two close range baskets from Jon Smith and Baltic cut the deficit to five, 46-41, with 16:07 to go.
Midway through the second half, Cooper started to take over the scoring load for Ohio.
The Chicago native scored eight straight points to keep Ohio’s deficit at five, 58-53 with 10:02 left.
Keely’s layup with 4:54 to go pulled the Bobcats within four at 67-63, but a three-point basket from Russell Johnson pushed the lead back to seven with 4:11 left.
Cooper made two free throws with 1:33 left to cut the Colonials’ lead to 77-73, but Anderson killed the Bobcats off for good with his eighth three pointer of the night.
Christian spoke about the defensive struggles.
“It really came down to one-on-one defense,” he said. “Our one-on-one defense was awful. It had zero to do with offense tonight. If you have 76 points on the road, you should win.”
The Ohio Bobcats will look to bounce back in fine fashion as they will travel to Memphis, Tenn., to take on the Memphis Tigers on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.