Fresh from their trip to the Virgin Islands where they lost two of three games, the Ohio Men’s Basketball team improved to 4-2 on the season by defeating the Thundering Herd of Marshall by an 85-70 final.
Ohio had to overcome a slow start, falling behind 9-1 in the first four minutes of the game. The Bobcats’ slow start can be attributed to sloppy play. Overall, the green and white committed a season-high 19 turnovers, something coach Saul Phillips stressed in his post-game comments.
“It bothers me we’re not taking care of the ball better,” said Phillips. “I believe we could be an historically good offense for this school if we take care of the ball.”
Phillips did credit his team for their resiliency in coming back in the contest.
“I’m excited, the pieces are there on this team,” said Phillips.
Ohio got back in the game courtesy of red-shirt Sophomore point guard Jaaron Simmons.
Simmons finished the game with 25 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals–his third 20-plus point performance this season.
The Bobcats fought hard to tie the game at 36 at half time, then the second half proved to be Simmons’ time to shine.
With the Bobcats up five, 48-43, Simmons rallied six consecutive points and nine of Ohio’s next 15 to open up a lead big enough to coast the rest of the way.
Ohio took a ten-point lead with 12:05 remaining in the second half and the Herd could only manage to shrink that lead to just nine points for the remainder of the contest.
Simmons scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half, changing his game following halftime.
He turned it over four times in the first half, but was able to attack the basket better in the second.
“I think I just had to get aggressive and stop being passive. We all looked at it as a fresh start and a zero-zero score when it was tied at half time,” Simmons said.
Coach Phillips was the first to back up his point guard following the game, saying, “Jaaron can handle anything.”
Simmons was one of three Bobcats in double-digits on Tuesday along with Kenny Kaminski who had 15 and Treg Setty who finished with 10.
Providing an uplift off-the-bench was Wadly Mompremier, who made the most of his 15 minutes on the floor– tallying eight points and seven rebounds.
“Our effort was very good tonight and I though Wadly was a nice spark for us down-the-stretch,” Phillips said about his seven-foot center.
Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni praised the Bobcats after the game, saying, “We scheduled hard this year and Ohio is one of the best teams in the MAC and we knew it would be a fight.”
D’Antoni said his team’s downfall against the Bobcats was, “the tendency to play “hero ball” trying to make big plays, not the easy plays.
He was right.
Marshall shot 45.7% in the first half, compared to just 38.2 in the second to go along with 15 turnovers.
C.J Burks led the Thundering Herd with 20 points.
With the victory, Ohio remains a perfect 4-0 at home but will not play at the Convocation Center for another two weeks, December 15th versus Ohio Dominican.
Sandwiched between their next home contest is back-to-back road affairs–Saturday at St. Bonaventure and December 12th at Cleveland State.