After watching its dreams of winning a Mid-American Conference regular season title fade away on Wednesday, Ohio must regroup Saturday afternoon when it faces off against Bowling Green at the Stroh Center.
The Bobcats (20-8, 11-2 in MAC play) are coming off a crushing 88-81 overtime loss to MAC-leading and No. 24-ranked Akron in a battle of the conferences’ top two teams. Ohio’s dreams of winning its first MAC regular season title since 1994 are on life support but a win or Western Michigan loss in any of the final three games would give Ohio a second-place finish and double-bye into the conference tournament’s semifinals.
Bowling Green (12-16, 6-7) hopes to hand Ohio back-to-back losses in conference play for the first time all season. The Falcons are led by the inside-outside tandem of senior point guard Jordon Crawford and senior forward A’uston Calhoun, who each average 15.1 points per game. Crawford is fifth in the MAC with 4.1 assists, while Calhoun ranks sixth in the MAC with 7.3 rebounds.
The Falcons achilles heel is shooting, ranking ninth in the 12-team conference with a 41.6 field goal percentage. They’re 11th in three-point shooting at 31. 5 percent.
Ohio is the opposite, the ‘Cats shoot a MAC-leading 47.4 percent from the floor and lead the MAC in three-pointers made (230) and are second in three-point shot shooting percentage at 35.9 percent.
Star guard D.J. Cooper has connected on 257 3-pointers in his Ohio career and is just two away from tying Tommy Freeman (2008-11) for the most 3-pointers made in Ohio history (259). Cooper is also just 16 points shy of becoming the first player in NCAA basketball history to collect at least 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals. Cooper scored a season-high 26 points in the loss to the Zips.
Ohio is 5-1 in MAC road games games for the first time since the 1984-85 team. The five conference road wins are also the most in the program’s last 12 seasons.
The Bobcats won the teams’ first matchup 72-63 back on February 9th at the Convocation Center behind Reggie Keely’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Tip-off is set for noon from Bowling Green.