After losing three of their last four, the Ohio Bobcats look to stop the bleeding with a victory over the University of Massachusetts, Wednesday night in Amherst.
The matchup to watch will be in the backcourt. Point guards D.J. Cooper and Chaz Williams both lead their teams in points and assists.
Though Williams is only five foot nine, he’s not afraid of entering the lane. He’s been to the free throw line 43 times already this season, and averages five rebounds per game.
The legend of D.J. Cooper continues to grow. Having already hit a game winning shot against St. Bonaventure, Cooper is shooting 34 percent from three and is averaging seven assists per game.
The Bobcats will need to find their stroke offensively if they want to snap a two game losing streak. Since dropping their first game of the season to Robert Morris, Ohio has averaged only 65 points per game. Against Winthrop on Saturday, they managed only 49 points.
In the Bobcat’s three losses this season, they have shot an abysmal 36 percent from the field. They need starters Ivo Baltic, Jon Smith, and Walter Offutt to start making baskets. The three scored a combined four points on Saturday.
But as bad as Ohio has shot in the past few games, the Minuteman have been just as bad, shooting just 39 percent from the field this season.
Ohio will also need another big game from its bench. Reggie Keely led all scorers with 14 points on Saturday, making every shot he took from the field and foul line. In total, the bench outscored the starters 31-18.
The Bobcat’s recent slide has coincided with sloppy offensive possessions. They are averaging 16.5 turnovers in their last two losses. On the defensive end, Ohio continue to apply defensive pressure. The Bobcats force an average of 19 turnovers per game.
Once again, Ohio will enter the game with a significant size disadvantage. Senior forward Terrell Vinson (six foot seven inches), junior forward Sampson Carter (six foot eight inches), and junior forward Raphiael Putney (six foot nine inches) all pose matchup problems inside against the much smaller Bobcats.
The Minutemen also hold a huge advantage in the rebounding department. The minutemen collect nearly 40 rebounds per contest, while Ohio averages only 31.
At six foot eight inches, Missouri transfer Kadeem Green gives the Bobcats a bit more size inside. Green, who was ineligible for the first nine games of the season because of NCAA transfer restrictions, got his feet wet against Winthrop with two points and a rebound in four minutes of play. Green’s minutes should increase steadily in upcoming contests.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.