For the first time since 2010, the Ohio Bobcats fell to 0-3 in MAC play, falling to the Toledo Rockets, 80-73. Bean Willis and Maurice Ndour combined for 34 points, but were unable to overcome foul trouble and turnovers late in the game.
Ndour came out strong, scoring 11 of Ohio’s first 25 points. Toledo was unable to stop him and Ndour took advantage, doing everything he wanted in the first 10 minutes. With him getting hot, it looked as if Ohio would be able to take control of the game.
However, J.D. Weatherspoon and the rest of the Rockets began to attack Ndour, forcing him into foul trouble in the first half. After Ndour threw down a monster dunk, he would pick up his second foul of the night with 6:40 left in the first half. With Ndour out, the Rockets immediately went on a 9-0 to take a 31-25 lead. The Rockets would ride that lead heading into halftime, leading 41-37 at the break.
Fouls were the story of the game, as Ohio was called for twice as many fouls as Toledo, while also having three guys with at least four fouls, compared to Toledo, who only had one player with at least three fouls. The problems with the fouls led to Tony Campbell trying to plead his case, leading to him receiving a technical foul.
“(Officials) don’t make all the calls and we don’t make all of the shots,” Taylor said. “That’s a part of basketball.”
Ohio looked to have some life in the second half, taking a 49-48 lead with 13:16 left in the game after Stevie Taylor nailed a pull-up jump shot, following a Treg Setty block. But with Ndour battling foul trouble, the Bobcats were unable to make up for that, allowing Toledo to go a 14-4 run.
For as good as their defense had been tonight, the Bobcats’ offense was unable to match. Ohio forced Toledo to shoot under 40 percent in the second half, but turnovers on the offensive end would haunt them, as they would cough it up seven times in the second half, leading to six Rocket points on the other end.
“If you take away the offensive rebounds and free throws, I thought we were good enough to win defensively,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said.
With the offense unable to score, Ohio could not match every run that Toledo would go on. Ohio was able to cut the deficit to five with 22.5 seconds left, but Justin Drummond sank two free throws, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Free throws would be the difference in the game, as Toledo was able to get the line eight more times than the Bobcats, hitting nine more in a game in which they would win by seven.
“Losing takes a toll on a team and a coaching stuff,” Phillips said. “We have to find a way to pick ourselves up.”
Ohio looks to pick up their first MAC win of the season this Saturday, as it heads on the road to take on Kent State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.