It is customary at the Convo for the student section for Ohio to stand from the start of the game until the Bobcats allow a field goal to their opponents. That lasted a mere 27 seconds on Tuesday, as Central Michigan forward John Simmons hit a three-pointer on their first shot of the game.
As for the Bobcat players, they stood around and watched Central Michigan take a 15-0 lead in the first 5:42 seconds into the game, a lead that stood so tall for the Bobcats to overcome in a 68-57 loss.
“I can’t tell you how surprised I am by our energy level,” coach Saul Phillips said.
Offensively, the Bobcats stood and watched on offense as countless possessions ended with an isolation play from either Bean Willis or Stevie Taylor.
Defensively they forgot to locate an open man, allowing for Central Michigan to have a number of good looks from behind the arc. And although the Bobcats allowed Central Michigan to hit only 21.4 percent of its three-point attempts, the Bobcats stood and watched the Chippewas crash the offensive glass.
Willis struggled to find his shot all game, hitting only three of his 14 attempts tonight. Despite his five assists, too many times did he try to force a shot that was not there, even when he had guys that were open around the perimeter.
With Ohio trailing by 14 and inching its way back into the game, Ndour rebounded a CMU missed shot and passed it out to Willis who had a three-on-two fast break advantage. As he drove to toward the basket, an open Stevie Taylor put his hands up calling for the ball. Willis ignored the call and missed a floater attempt over the two defenders, prompting Taylor to drop his hands in disgust as he got back on defense.
Taylor wasn’t the only who showed signs of frustration tonight, as Treg Setty channeled his thoughts on the lack energy the team possessed from the start of the game:
“Once the 20 minutes started to tick away, it was obvious were weren’t ready.”
This isn’t the first game that Ohio has struggled with its energy levels, and has lacked consistency in its play all season, shown by the fact that the Bobcats have yet to win three straight games this season. Phillips has been looking for those answers on consistency, and will go to any length to get them fixed.
“We are going to work until this thing either gets right or I collapse at the end of the season,” Phillis said. “I’m going to Captain Ahab this son-of-a-gun.”