After cruising through their first six games of the season, Ohio is facing adversity sooner than they had hoped.
The Bobcats will look to bounce back when they welcome Oakland to the Convocation Center today after disappointing road losses to Robert Morris and Memphis.
Memphis’ 84-58 trouncing of Ohio, Wednesday night was arguably Ohio’s worst performance in the last two seasons. The Bobcats had used their suffocating defense to win their six games by an average of 21.3 points, holding opponents to a measly 54.6 points per game. But RMU and Memphis each scored 84 points and combined to shoot 50 percent (18-36) from three-point range.
“We had an awful week. We have to get better,” said head coach Jim Christian after the Memphis loss.
The Golden Grizzlies (3-6) have struggled thus far but are coming off an 88-77 victory over Rochester (Mich.) on Thursday. Oakland lost last year’s NCAA leading scorer Reggie Hamilton to graduation and is not the same team that beat Ohio in Athens two years ago. The Bobcats nipped Oakland in last year’s meeting 84-82 behind 18 points from D.J. Cooper and 13 from Stevie Taylor.
However, they are still a dangerous team, especially on the offensive end. Junior guard Travis Bader, who poured in 32 against Rochester, is averaging 19.3 points and takes 9.8 three per game. 6’10” sophomore center Corey Petros dominated the Bobcats to the tune of 23 points and 16 rebounds last season and averages 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds this year. Providence transfer Duke Mondy chips in 14 points per game.
As for the Bobcats, Cooper once again is running the show and playing great. He leads the team in scoring at 15.3 and is 11th in the nation with 6.9 assists a game. He’s shooting a career-best 43.3 percent from the field (up from 34.8 last year) including 35.4 percent from deep. Walter Offutt and Ivo Baltic are the two other Bobcats averaging double figures.
One area Ohio must improve on as they prep for conference play is on the glass. The Bobcats are 320th out of 347 teams in rebounding averaging 30.4 per game, five less than the NCAA average. Oakland is not much better, grabbing 31.9 boards a game.
The last time Ohio lost three straight was nearly two years ago when they lost three conference games from January 15-22 in 2011.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.