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Basketball Notebook: Tigers take Bobcats to task in blowout win
The Bobcats fell to 6-2 on the year with an 84-58 loss to Memphis Wednesday. Read our chronological coverage of the Bobcats' second-straight loss below.
Ohio left The Convo Tuesday morning to make their way to Memphis' FedEx Forum, where it would take on the Tigers in front of a national television audience Wednesday.
The game will go a long way in terms of setting the tone for Ohio's season — at least in the eyes of many onlookers, said Jon Smith, a redshirt junior forward.
"They’re obviously a really good team, a really athletic team, somebody that everybody’s looking at to gauge how good we are," he said. "Everybody else in the country will be like, ‘How do they play against Memphis?’ "
The Bobcats (6-1) have their hands full, as Memphis (4-2) has been ranked as prominently as No. 17 in the nation this season.
The Tigers have yet to best an opponent of much significance, though, as their wins have came against teams with a cumulative 13-21 this year.
They fell to Minnesota and VCU on back-to-back days earlier this season in the Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas, and have played only once since, beating Tennessee-Martin handily last Monday.
Memphis is led by sophomore forward Adonis Thomas, who averages 12.5 points per game.
Junior forward Tarik Black is the Tigers' second-in-command, as he scores 10.6 points per game and leads them in rebounds. Junior guards Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford both average more than 10 points per game, as well.
Ohio coach Jim Christian would earn his 200th career win with a victory against Memphis.
Look back at the Bobcats' last game, an eight-point loss to Robert Morris, here. Read basketball beat reporter Jim Ryan's game preview here. Follow him and The Post Sports on Twitter for game updates.
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.
The Bobcats began the game by controlling the opening tip, but could not convert on its first two trips down the floor, where Baltic missed on both opportunities.
Smith was the first player from either team to score, as he knocked down a pair of free throws less than 90 seconds into the game.
It didn't take long for the Tigers to tie the game, as freshman forward Shaq Goodman converted a pair of free throws less than a minute later.
Ohio junior forward T.J. Hall checked into the game soon thereafter, subbing in for Baltic, who held onto the ball too long, causing a shot clock violation on the previous play.
Ohio senior forward Reggie Keely, who had foul trouble in each of the Bobcats' past three games, came in not long after Hall, who hit a three-pointer on his first offensive touch to give Ohio the lead heading into the first media timeout.
Ohio junior guard Travis Wilkins checked in after the timeout.
Offutt then hit a three-pointer to bring the Bobcats' lead to 8-2 with 15 minutes left in the half.
Memphis then scored its first field goal of the game on a dunk from senior forward Ferrakohn Hall.
Senior forward D.J. Stephens then evened the score at eight with a dunk of his own.
The score was tipped back in the Bobcats' favor on a Wilkins jumper only seconds later, though.
Ohio junior guard Ricardo Johnson, who did not play against Robert Morris with a knee injury, and sophomore guard Stevie Taylor checked in before the second media timeout.
The Bobcats trailed by one at that point because of a Memphis three-pointer.
The game began on somewhat of a sloppy note, as both teams hit only three of their first 11 field goals and committed a combined five turnovers in less than nine minutes.
Baltic scored on a turnaround jumper to give the Bobcats the lead once again on their next possession.
With 10:20 remaining in the first half, Smith committed his second foul of the game, setting him on the bench in favor of Keely.
Cooper compensated for the foul with a swish from long range on the next trip down the court, putting the Bobcats ahead 15-12.
After being blocked by Baltic on his first offensive touch, Black slammed down a dunk after stripping Cooper in transition on a fast break, bringing the score within one.
Cooper hit another three — his second of the night and fourth of the team — gave Ohio the lead once again on Ohio's next possession.
Memphis' Thomas brought the ball into the post, then backed out and hit a 16-footer to bring the Bobcats' margin to only two with 7:50 to go in the first half.
At that point, the Tigers led Ohio 6-0 on points in the paint and grabbed twice its total of seven rebounds.
Keely hit a pair of free throws with just more than seven minutes to play in the half, while Kellogg sat down in favor of Wilkins. Hall also checked back in for Baltic during the next stoppage.
Memphis junior guard Geron Johnson put home four straight points to bring the game to a tie with less than six minutes to play in the half. The lead had changed hands only twice to that point.
He then gave the Tigers a lead with a foul shot conversions stemming from a Keely foul — his second.
Goodwin then slammed home a dunk off a miss from Johnson to give the Tigers a three-point lead — their largest of the game.
Barton then went to the hole for the Tigers, coming up with a layup and foul. He missed the extra shot, however.
The Tigers were on an 13-0 run heading into the 3:37 mark in the first half. They led 29-20, and held Ohio scoreless for more than five minutes of game action at that point.
Baltic put the Bobcats back on the right track with a jumper to bring the Tigers' lead within seven, and Offutt led a fast-break charge to put two more on the scoreboard.
The Tigers, however, converted an and-one opportunity on the other end of the court to bring the score to 32-24 with two minutes to play in the half.
Baltic then cashed in an alley-oop, and Smith capitalized on a feed from Cooper in the post to bring the score within four.
The Tigers ended the half on a 4-0 run.
Halftime: Memphis 36, Ohio 28
The Bobcats' defense appeared able to hang with Memphis' bigs in the first half, but its 13-0 run, points off turnovers and in transition allowed the Tigers to claim the lead heading into the break.
The Tigers hit only one of their 10 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, but were dominant in the interior, converting 22 points in the paint.
Memphis was very opportune in the opening half, as it scored 13 points off Ohio's nine turnovers. The Bobcats forced only six turnovers in the first half, and allowed the Tigers to score nine second chance points leading into halftime.
Memphis' Geron Johnson led all scorers with 13 points on five-of-six shooting in the first half, while Goodwin had seven points — five of which came from the free throw line.
The Bobcats were led by Baltic and Cooper, who had six points apiece.
Goodwin opened the half with a trio of buckets, putting the Tigers ahead by 12, the last of which was a two-handed dunk in transition.
Cooper cut the Tigers' lead with a three on his next offensive touch.
Goodwin connected for another dunk on the Tigers' next trip down the floor, but was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. The score was counted, but Kellogg was sent to the opposite side of the court for a pair of foul shots, of which he made one.
Cooper fumbled the ensuing offensive possession, and Goodwin took the ball the length of the floor. There, he dunked the ball, but it hit his head and came back up through the net, thus disallowing the bucket.
He had a pair more points on Memphis' next possession, though.
Cooper hit his fourth three of the game, Ohio's sixth, with 16 minutes to play in the game to bring the game within 12.
Geron Johnson then put the Tigers ahead by 14 with a triple and dunk in transition leading into the first media timeout of the half.
Cooper had an and-one layup before that mark, though. The score read 51-39 with 15:14 to play.
A key statistic for Memphis was its points in the paint, of which it had 34 to the Bobcats' 10.
Offutt and Thomas traded easy twos on back-to-back possessions, and Memphis added another two to bring the score to its widest margin of the game, to that point. Ohio trailed by 19 points with 12 minutes to play in the game.
As opposed to the first half where the Tigers hit only one three, they hit three within four minutes to that point in the second half.
The Bobcats had a pair of offensive strikes over the next couple minutes, as Cooper, Baltic and Smith each contributed twos.
Memphis didn't led its lead slip, though, and led 67-50 with less than nine minutes to play.
The Tigers' 42 points in the paint to that point was the defining factor of the game, as Ohio could not combat their bigs. That hurt its perimeter play, as well, as the Tigers were able to draw defenders out of position by distributing low-to-high.
Keely and Smith showed a bit of inside athleticism with a two apiece inside the nine-minute mark, but as time wore on it became more apparent it would take more of a defensive effort to salvage the game.
Two more threes and a layup from Goodwin highlighted the next five minutes of play, heading into the final media timeout.
The Bobcats trailed 78-58 at that point.
With less than 2:30 remaining, Barton laid in a pair of layups, one of which was off failed coverage, and the Tigers began to dig deep into their bench to give some younger players game reps.
Ohio did the same with less than a minute remaining.
Final: Memphis 84, Ohio 58
Ohio, which led by as much as six before falling behind heading into the half, could not withstand a second half flurry from Memphis' offense, as the Tigers scored 18 more points than the Bobcats after the break.
Cooper: 19 points, four assists, three rebounds
Smith 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, seven rebounds
Baltic: Eight points, five rebounds
Offutt: Seven points, three assists
Johnson: 21 points
Goodwin: 20 points, nine rebounds
Barton: 11 points
Jackson: 10 points, five assists, four rebounds
Thomas: Nine points, three rebounds, two assists
"We just started turning the ball over. A lot of them were unforced." — Christian, on Ohio's play after the midpoint in the first half
"There’s a million reasons. If you let them become confidence by turning the ball over in the open floor leading to layups and dunks, they’re going to look pretty good." — Christian, on how Memphis turned Ohio turnovers into offense
"Jon (Smith) is the most solid guy on our team. The one thing you can count on from Jon is that he’s going to follow the game plan to a T." — Christian, on Smith's performance, which he said led the team
"Every game is going to be big and we have to make sure we continue to get better." — Christian, on the importance of what lies ahead for Ohio
For the third straight game, Ohio will look to give Christian his 200th career win Saturday, when the Bobcats face off with Oakland at The Convo. The Grizzlies are 2-6 on the year, though they lost by only eight to Boise State and fell to Pittsburgh in overtime earlier this season.