Following their setback at Akron, the Ohio men’s basketball team has been able to string together two straight victories against Ball State and Bowling Green.
Even though they are on the verge of compiling another long winning streak, the Bobcats’ next opponent will put their mental toughness to the test.
The Ohio Bobcats (17-6, 8-1 Mid-American Conference) will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on the Central Michigan Chippewas (9-14, 2-8 MAC) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at McGuirk Arena.
The Bobcats enter the contest on the back of an impressive week. Redshirt senior guard Walter Offutt scored 17 points and junior forward T.J. Hall added 10 points in a dominant 69-42 road victory over Ball State last Wednesday. Senior forward Reggie Keely scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 72-63 win over MAC East rival Bowling Green on Saturday at the Convocation Center.
Central Michigan has lost six games in a row and have been defeated by an average of 14 points per game in those contests, but the Chippewas do have one thing in their favor. The last time Ohio visited McGuirk Arena, the Bobcats fell 91-85.
For the Bobcats to avoid the upset, they need to contain Kyle Randall. The senior guard averages 17.2 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game and 2.9 assists per game. The next highest scorer on the team is Blake Hibbitts, who averages 8.7 points per game. If Randall has a subpar game, Central Michigan will have a hard time matching Ohio basket for basket.
Ohio also needs to continue to be competitive on the glass. Ohio only averages 31 rebounds per game, but Central Michigan is not much better as they only average 32.4. If Ohio gives up second chance points, the Chippewas will be in this game from start to finish.
Other players Ohio must be wary of are guard Chris Fowler and forward John Simons. Although they are freshmen, Fowler leads the team with 4.9 assists per game and Simons leads the team with 5 rebounds per game.
Keno Davis is in his first season in charge of the Chippewas. Before he made the move to Mount Pleasant, he led Missouri Valley school Drake to the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and Big East school Providence to the NIT in 2009.