Just five days ago, Ohio was 6-0 and feeling good about themselves, but as the late great Notorious B.I.G. once said “Things Done Changed.” And boy did they change quickly.
After losing to Robert Morris on Saturday, the Bobcats were embarrassed in Memphis, 84-58 behind Geron Johnson’s career high 21 points.
Ohio was dominated in every facet of the game and looked rattled after taking an early lead, Wednesday night. Memphis forced 17 turnovers, leading to 23 points, mostly layups and dunks. Ohio was out-rebounded 38-27 and were shredded in the paint 48-22.
“We had an awful week. We have to get better,” said Ohio head coach Jim Christian in his radio interview after the game.
Both teams were sloppy in the opening minutes as Memphis missed its first seven shots. Ohio jumped out to an 8-2 lead thanks to threes from T.J. Hall and Walter Offutt. Ferrakohn Hall’s put-back dunk gave the Tigers their first field goal, an ugly foreshadowing of what was to come for Ohio.
D.J. Cooper per usual hit two deep treys, and Reggie Keely knocked down two free throws to give the Bobcats a 20-16 lead with 7:21 to play in the first half. From there on, it was all Memphis.
The Tigers turned up the intensity and Ohio collapsed at both ends. The Bobcats committed five costly turnovers to fuel a 13-0 Tigers run late in the half, helping Memphis turn a four-point deficit into a nine point lead.
Ohio climbed to within 32-28 but that was as close as they came the rest of the night. Memphis led 36-28 at the break with an astounding 31 points coming from either the paint (22) or at the free throw line (9).
The second half was more of the same. Cooper did all he could to keep Ohio in the game, sinking two more bombs and adding a three-point play to keep Ohio close. But the sudden lack of discipline from the veteran-laden Bobcats carried over to the second half.
They continued to be carless with the ball as freshman Shaq Goodwin (20 points) scored his team’s first 10 points of the half on two dunks and three layups in both the half-court and in transition. Memphis kept their foot on the gas and opened up a 63-44 lead on a Johnson three-pointer with 12:13 to play.
From there, Memphis poured it on and sent Ohio it’s second straight loss. The Tigers finished with 22 fastbreak points while Ohio had just 2.
Cooper led the way with 19 points but had five turnovers. Jon Smith was the only other Bobcat who did anything of note, chipping in 12 points and 7 boards.
Ohio will look to rebound at home where they have won 28 of their last 29 games dating back to 2011. The Bobcats welcome Oakland (2-6) to the Convocation Center on Saturday for a 2 p.m. start.