Men’s basketball: Bobcats to battle Vikings in first round of CIT

For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the Ohio Bobcats will face off against the Cleveland State Vikings.

With the two squads set to square off at The Convo on Wednesday at 7 p.m., redshirt sophomore forward Treg Setty is excited to get another chance to play with Ohio’s five seniors.

“Anytime you can play playoff basketball, it’s fun,” Setty said. “It’s not the NCAA Tournament, NIT or even the CBI, but it’s not a slap in the face. It seems degrading, but it’s really not. It’s something to be proud of. The fellas are looking forward to it.”

In the MAC Tournament, Ohio (23-11, 11-7 MAC) was able to defeat Ball State on March 10 at The Convo and beat Miami on Wednesday in Cleveland before it took on Akron, which won the MAC Tournament title last season.

Even though senior guard Nick Kellogg scored 25 points and had six assists, Ohio faded down the stretch and lost, 83-77, on Thursday in Cleveland.

Ohio will be making its 21st all-time postseason appearance and its second in the Postseason Tournament. The last time the Bobcats qualified for the CIT was in 2011. Ohio won at Marshall in the first round, 65-64, before falling to East Tennessee State, 82-73.

Cleveland State (21-11, 12-4 Horizon) finished second in its conference. The Vikings recorded a 2-2 record against MAC teams during their nonconference part of their schedule. Cleveland State beat Ball State and won at Kent State, but it lost to Akron and at Toledo.

“Cleveland State is a name that resonates with people who know how good certain conferences are,” Setty said. “We are looking forward to it because we have not played them in a long time. It’s an in-state team, and this is the second time we have had a home game we didn’t expect.”

Cleveland State ranks second nationally with a 40.9 team 3-point field goal percentage and is 17th in the country with a 75.0 free throw percentage.

Ohio must keep an eye on All-Horizon League Second Team selection Bryn Forbes. Forbes averages 15.4 points per game and shoots 42.3 percent from 3-point range.

Ohio has a 9-2 record in 11 all-time matchups against Cleveland State.

For Ohio to advance to the second round of the CIT, it must take advantage of the opportunities it receives on both ends of the floor.

“We have to understand where we are,” Setty said. “A game like this can turn our season around. It’s something you can build off going into the offseason. The young guys have gotten a chance to step up this season. We have to play together like we have all season.”

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