The Bobcats look to stay undefeated in MAC play when they host the Toledo Rockets, Saturday evening at the Convocation Center in a matchup of the two preseason division favorites.
Coming off a wire-to-wire 18-point win over Northern Illinois on Wednesday night, Ohio (12-5, 3-0) returns home where its won 33 of its past 35 games.
The Bobcats trailed NIU 12-9 before going on a 28-2 run during which they hit six straight three-point attempts to take a 27-point halftime lead. Ohio held the Huskies without a field goal for more than eight minutes and forced 13 first half turnovers. Ohio shot an incredible 68 percent (17-25) and made 7-11 shot from long distance in the opening half, before cruising in the second half.
Ohio finished with 25 assists, led by the MAC’s all-time assist leader D.J. Cooper, who had eight. Cooper is second in the nation averaging 8.2 assists, while the Bobcats lead the nation averaging 19.6 helpings per game.
With a win over Toledo, the Bobcats would improve to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.
Meanwhile, the Rockets (6-8, 2-1) are looking to rebound after a brutal 79-56 loss to Western Michigan three nights ago. Junior guard Rian Pearson tied a season-low with eight points on just 4-13 shooting. Pearson, a preseason first team pick in the West Division, leads the MAC in scoring at 19 per game and has scored at least 20 points in six of his team’s 14 games.
Despite shooting just 27.8 percent from beyond the arc, Pearson is a relatively efficient scorer because he draws a ton of fouls and is second in the conference averaging seven free throw attempts per game.
Toledo also boasts last year’s MAC Freshman of the Year in guard Julius Brown, who is the only other Rocket averaging double figures at 13.8.
With those two leading the way, the Rockets are the highest scoring team in the MAC West averaging 68.4 points. The Rockets do struggle on the defensive end, allowing 69.6 points.
Toledo has struggled mightily on the road this season, posting a 2-7 record thus far.
Look for Ohio to attack the Rockets using the “4 out, 1 in” concept with Cooper controlling the ball and Kellogg, Offutt and Baltic on the wings with Keely inside.
Tip-off is set for 6 pm.