Following a commanding 93-57 victory over winless Maryland Eastern Shore last Saturday afternoon, the Ohio men’s basketball team is looking to end the non-conference part of their schedule on a winning streak.
For the Bobcats to accomplish that feat, they will have to claim another high-profile win on the national stage.
The Ohio Bobcats (8-4) will look to record their first road win of the season when they travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma Sooners (7-3) on Saturday night at 8 p.m. in the Noble Center.
After Ohio failed to score 50 points in a home loss to Winthrop on December 15 for the first time since they were thoroughly out-classed by Big 12 powerhouse Kansas 98-41 in 2010, Ohio was looking to find some positives against a Maryland Eastern Shore team that entered the contest with a 0-10 record.
Ohio had six players in double figures scoring against the Eagles. Walter Offutt scored 15 points, and Travis Wilkins chipped in 14 points off the bench to hand the Bobcats a morale-boosting win.
The Bobcats will need balanced scoring if they want to achieve their first road victory. Balanced scoring from the team will take pressure off of star players D.J. Cooper and Offutt. It will also force Oklahoma to key in on multiple players, not just the three aforementioned ones.
Rebounding will also be a major factor in the outcome. Oklahoma averages 37 rebounds per game, which is six more than Ohio averages. If the Bobcats can limit Oklahoma to one shot per possession, they will relieve pressure on their defense.
Lastly, the ‘Cats need to avoid a back-breaking run by the opposition. Ohio was able to start well against Memphis and Massachusetts, but both teams used monster runs to break away from Ohio and ultimately, grab the win. If Ohio can keep the game close, the talent they possess should help them achieve a road win against a respectable Big 12 team.
Oklahoma enters the contest having won four of its last six games. They have earned quality wins against West Virginia and Texas A&M, but are coming off of a shocking 56-55 home loss to Stephan F. Austin on December 18th.
Senior forward Romero Osby leads the Sooners with 12.7 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Steven Pledger averages 10.3 points per game and 2.8 rebounds per game, while freshman guard Buddy Hield and junior forward Amath M’Baye, who hails from Bordeaux, France, both average eight points per game.
Long-time men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger is the head man in Norman. The former Illinois and UNLV head coach is in his second season in charge of the Sooners. He has a 22-19 record.