The Ohio Bobcats have had their way in recent meetings against the Buffalo Bulls.
The Bobcats host the Bulls on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and a Bobcat victory will give Ohio eight straight victories against Buffalo.
“They are a really talented team who has been good in the past,” senior guard Nick Kellogg said. “I don’t know what it is, but we’ve been successful against them in the past.”
The last time Ohio and Buffalo faced off against each other, freshman forward Tony Campbell scored Ohio’s last six points in a 73-70 victory on Feb. 15.
“He’s a big body with great hands,” Ohio coach Jim Christian said. “He has been working really hard, and he has taken advantage of his opportunity to play.”
Ohio will be wary of Buffalo senior forward Javon McCrea. In the first meeting, McCrea scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. He is averaging 18.9 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game this season.
“Without question, he’s on the short list of being the best player in the MAC,” Christian said.
Christian also said that if McCrea or any of the best players in the MAC have a night off, their teams will not stand a chance at victory because of how good the MAC has been this season.
One player who will have to keep his impressive displays going is senior guard Travis Wilkins. Wilkins leads the MAC in 3-pont field goal percentage at 48.4 percent in league play.
“He’s had an unbelievable year,” Christian said. “He plays hard and smart in every game. He does more than shoot it. He’s the heart and soul of this team.”
Last time Ohio (19-8, 9-5 MAC) took to the court, it won at Akron, 66-50. It was the first time the Bobcats beat the Zips under the guidance of Christian.
“It was a huge win for us,” Kellogg said. “Our intensity and focus for the game was great.”
With a victory Wednesday, Christian would become the fastest MAC coach to reach 100 league victories.
Buffalo (16-8, 10-4 MAC) has won five of its past six league games, but the Bulls are 5-5 on the road this season. The last time Buffalo won in Athens was Jan. 22, 2011.
For Ohio to reach the 20-win plateau for the third-straight season, it will have to play sound defense.
“It all starts on the backboard,” Kellogg said. “We have to rebound the ball like we did the first time we played them. We also have to limit their second-chance points.”