Men’s Basketball: Ohio looks for perfect start against Appalachian State

The Ohio Bobcats will open the 2014-2015 season at The Convo against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will mark Ohio coach Saul Phillips’ regular season debut after he was hired to replace Jim Christian, who left for Boston College.

Last time out, Ohio struggled in the first half against Marietta, but a strong second-half showing saw the ‘Cats defeat Marietta at The Convo, 82-69.

Despite a slow start, redshirt junior forward Treg Setty was pleased with the team’s performance.

“We got hit in the mouth early in the game, but I think that’s good for us,” Setty said. “To play a team that didn’t lay down and actually challenged us during the game, I think it will be very important for us to learn from that experience.”

Phillips is Ohio’s third coach in the last four years. Setty has been looking forward to learning from him in game situations ever since he was hired.

“If I tried to explain how excited I was for this game, I would sound silly because I don’t know big enough words to describe it,” he said. “It’s going to be a great season no matter how many wins we have come the end of the season.”

Setty, a native of Maysville, Kentucky, scored 15 points in the team’s victory against Marietta. For Setty, while it’s nice to score points, that’s the last thing he cares about.

“I could come in to a game and score 15 points, five points or zero points,” Setty said. “As long as we get the win, that’s all that matters.”

The Mountaineers are led by first-year coach Jim Fox, who spent the previous 13 seasons on the Davidson coaching staff. This season will be the first in which Appalachian State is a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Senior guard Tab Hamilton earned preseason Third Team All-Sun Belt recognition after leading the Mountaineers in scoring with 12.7 points per game last season.

“They’ll play like they’ve got a lot to prove,” he said. “They’ll play hard like we will. I’m expecting their best shot.”

Ohio has won its last 10 season openers. All 10 games have been played at The Convo.

For the Bobcats to start the season off with a victory, they’ll have to take care of the basketball and play well on defense.

“We have to focus on the gameplan and hone in on what Coach Phillips wants us to do,” Setty said. “We’ll have to knock down some open shots and let the game come to us as well.”

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