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Basketball Notebook: Eagles upend Bobcats to end home win streak
The Bobcats fell to 7-3 on the year with a 50-49 loss to Winthrop on Saturday. Read our chronological coverage of the Bobcats' loss below.
After a welcomed weeklong break, Ohio made its return to the court Saturday, squaring off against Winthrop.
The Bobcats had a relatively routine week away from game action, catering to players’ academic itineraries while they wrapped up the semester.
Ohio (7-2) senior guard Walter Offutt said coach Jim Christian put on-court productivity behind his focus on academics early in the week before moving into preparation for the Eagles (3-4.)
“Really we just (worked) on things that we need to work on individually,” he said. “Later in the week we (got) in depth about individual things we need to improve on to help the team.”
At the top of Christian’s list is improving play under the basket. He noted that the Bobcats need to make strides in rebounding the ball off the offensive glass, and that there’s no particular formula for improvement other than bearing down and being more competitive in the paint.
The Bobcats have grabbed 12 less offensive boards than their opponents this season.
“The team needs guys that can crash the offensive board, guys who can get the 50-50 rebounds against good players — and if we do that our team will grow, whoever it might be,” he said.
Ohio will have one more option to turn to, in the form of Missouri transfer Kadeem Green, a redshirt sophomore forward who was cleared to play late in the week.
Green sat out his first semester at Ohio because of NCAA transfer rules, and could provide a punch for the Ohio offense.
It remains to seen how much playing time, if any, Green receives against the Eagles. He is listed as 6-foot-8, averaged three points and as many rebounds in 11 games last season for Missouri.
Christian said earlier in the week that the Bobcats would take more time to focus on their team skills than they would in a normal, shorter practice week, and that they’re nearing the point in the year where they need to pull away from some of the mistakes they’ve made in the past.
“Regardless of how many guys you have back or how many games they’ve played, it’s always a work in progress,” he said. “That’s the way it is. That’s the way college basketball is. You’re not the same team in December that you are hopefully in February or March. Nobody is. That’s the whole key to all of this.”
The Eagles come to The Convo fresh from a 10-day break of their own, before which they beat Brevard College by 23 points.
Senior center Shola Diop led Winthrop with 13 points and eight rebounds in the win, while redshirt senior guard Gideon Gamble had as many points.
Sophomore guard Derrick Henry, who averages 16 points per game, paces the Eagles offensively. He was ineffective against Brevard College, though, shooting 3-of-12 from the field in the win.
The lengthy stretch away from game action could go far in allowing a fast-paced affair. Offutt said there’s to take away from the week of practice that can be applied against the Eagles.
“(The off time) is important in the sense that you really need to reflect on what the team needs to get better on,” he said.
The Bobcats have won 16 straight at home — the seventh-longest such streak in the nation.
Ohio's starters are as follows: Senior guard D.J. Cooper, redshirt senior guard Walter Offutt, junior guard Nick Kellogg, senior forward Ivo Baltic and redshirt junior forward Jon Smith.
Smith won the tip, but the Bobcats came up empty on their first trip down the floor, as Offutt was stripped on a drive to the basket with the shot clock winding down.
Kellogg knocked down a deep three on a dish from Baltic to open the game's scoring.
After opening the game with an airball and missed layup, the Eagles hit a three to even the score.
Ohio senior forward Reggie Keely checked into the game with 16:39 on the first half clock.
More than two minutes passed before either team put more points on the board, as the Bobcats came up empty on a pair of trips down the floor and the Eagles were cited for a shot clock violation and committed a turnover.
Keely broke the seal and moved the score back to a tie with a layup while falling down inside the 14-minute mark.
He did the same on the Bobcats' next possession, giving the Bobcats a two-point lead.
Ohio junior guard Travis Wilkins made his first appearance at the 12:43 point in the first half.
He hit a three from the wing on his first touch, giving Ohio a 10-7 lead.
Ohio sophomore guard Stevie Taylor checked in soon thereafter, as well.
Keely hit another turnaround layup inside the 12-minute mark, his third such conversion of the game.
Ricardo Johnson, an Ohio junior guard, took to the court with 11 minutes remaining in the half.
Both teams remained relatively inactive for the next three minutes of game play, as only a pair of layups budged the numbers on the scoreboard.
Ohio led 14-11 with eight minutes to go until halftime.
Keely upped his point total to 10 on a reverse layup stemming from a pretty dish from Cooper soon thereafter. It was Cooper's third assist and Keely's fifth made shot on as many attempts.
Ohio sophomore forward Kadeem Green made his first appearance as a Bobcat at the six minute mark, replacing Keely.
The Eagles clawed their way back into the lead with five minutes to play in the half, leading 18-16 after a six-point run in which they held the Bobcats scoreless.
The Bobcats regained the lead with a layup from Green and a dish from him to the perimeter on the following posession.
Taylor, who converted the three-pointer from the corner, also took a Winthrop turnover the length of the floor for a fast break layup with 2:50 remaining in the half.
Ohio led 23-18 at that point.
Keely tacked on two more points to up his total to 12 to give the Bobcats a five-point lead heading into the half.
Halftime: Ohio 25, Winthrop 20
The Bobcats' first half was far from perfect, as they committed 10 turnovers and accumulated their lowest first half point total of the season.
Keely led Ohio with 12 points and two rebounds, while Baltic had eight rebounds.
Winthrop sophomore forward Larry Brown led the Eagles with six points. The Eagles shot only 32 percent from the field in the first half.
The Bobcats began the second half with a three-point miss and a Cooper layup attempt that was blocked out of bounds by Brown.
Winthrop was the first to make an offensive impact, as junior center Steve Johnson cashed in a pair of free throws to bring the Bobcats' margin to three.
The Eagles tied the game on their next possession, as Brown cashed in an and-one opportunity.
A mid-range jumper from Henry gave Winthrop its first lead of the half with 17 minutes remaining in the game.
Johnson missed a pair of free throws, which would have ended the Eagles' 7-0 run, but collected his own rebound to give the Bobcats another chance at their first points of the second half.
Although the Bobcats failed to convert on their extra try, Johnson was the first Ohio player to score in the second half.
He took another offensive rebound to the rim, drawing a foul on the way for a three-point play.
The Eagles cashed in another three-pointer inside the 15-minute mark to extend their run to 12-3 in the second half.
Another three gave the Eagles their largest lead of the game, seven points, with 13:51 remaining.
The Bobcats had only converted one second half field goal to that point.
Kellogg and Hall brought the Bobcats to within two with back-to-back three pointers inside the 11-minute mark.
The Bobcats' offense was largely stagnant throughout the majority of the second half, as they shot only 21 percent in in the first 15 minutes of the half.
Ohio trailed 45-42 with 4:54 remaining.
The Bobcats had the opportunity to bring the score within one on their next possession, but failed to make good of a Baltic block, as a pass slipped out of Kellogg's hands and over the baseline out of bounds.
The opponents then traded twos, moving the score to 47-44 with 2:57 remaining.
Cooper brought the Bobcats within three with a deep trey from the win with 2:30 left in the game. He had the chance to even the score with a trip to the free throw line after pulling down a defensive rebound and being fouled, as the Eagles were in the penalty.
The Bobcats forced a shot clock violation on Winthrop's next possession, and had a full shot clock with 1:41 remaining in the game and the score in their opponents' favor by a pair.
Baltic missed a mid-range jumper to give the Eagles the ball with a minute remaining, still with a two-point lead.
Cooper tied the score, though, on Ohio's second-to-last possession, missing a three-pointer, being fed an offensive rebound, pump faking and driving the hoop for a pretty layup.
Offutt was charged with a blocking foul on the Eagles' ensuing trip down the floor, from which Gideon Gamble made one of two.
It was enough for the Eagles to earn their first win against a Division I opponent this season, though, as Cooper missed a three from the wing as time expired.
Final: Winthrop 50, Ohio 49
The Bobcats were able to put the ball in their hands with time winding down, giving them a chance to take their 17th straight game at The Convo, but could not convert, falling at home for the first time since Jan. 2, 2012 against Robert Morris.
Keely: 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, two rebounds, two steals
Cooper: Eight points, three rebounds, three assists
Kellogg: Six points on 2-of-3 shooting, two assists, two rebounds
Henry: 14 points, four rebounds
Jerome: 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting, three rebounds
Smith: 10 points, three assists
Brown: Nine points, nine rebounds, two blocks, three steals
"In the first half we turned the ball over way too much, many of them unforced — especially in transition — and we never really got into a good rhythm shooting the basketball." — Christian
"This is one of those games where you have to try to grind out a win when you don’t play well or aren’t in a rhythm offensively. We never got there. We never got the big stop we needed or got the run —the one run — to break it." — Christian
"We weren’t on top of our game today. We’re not going to panic or anything, we’re just going to look in the mirror and try to get better." — Kellogg
"I think one of the biggest things was a lack of movement. A lot of times — we’ve had this problem before — is that we got a little stagnant offensively. I think that really hurt us today, along with not being able to make shots." — Kellogg
"It’s 10 games into the season. If people want to count us out, that’s fine. We know that we’re a talented group and can turn this around." — Kellogg
"You have to show it to them and get them to understand it. We’re going to be in this situation again, and learn from it. That’s all you can do." — Christian, on making smart plays
"It wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. I’d have to look at the tape to see if what we were looking for was open or not. It’s a guy that hits big shots taking a big shot. It should never come down to that." — Christian, on Cooper's shot with time expiring
It's not exactly back to the drawing board for Ohio...
The Bobcats won't have very long to recuperate from their first sub-50 point showing since Nov. 26, 2010 against Kansas, as they take on Massachusetts Wednesday on the road.
The Minutemen are 5-3 on the year, and beat Elon in overtime Saturday.