Men's Basketball: Bobcats wrap up weekend against Wofford

Ohio senior forward Ivo Baltic slams a dunk during Friday's win against University of North Carolina at Wilmington. (Jason Chow | Staff Photographer)

 

Pregame

 

Ohio entered its third game of the season against Wofford boasting a 2-0 record, and is fresh off a dominant win against University of North Carolina at Wilmington Friday.

Senior forward Ivo Baltic led the Bobcats with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting Friday, while senior forward Reggie Keely and guards Walter Offutt, a redshirt senior, and Nick Kellogg, a junior, also recorded double digits.

Ohio forced 26 turnovers in its Friday win, from which it scored 31 points. Ohio coach Jim Christian was pleased with the way the Bobcats' active defense against UNCW.

"The one thing I’ve learned about this group is that they play the game very smart, in terms of a lot of the steals — yes, we go over the action — but they’re anticipating the play before it happens," he said. "Coming into the game, I think they take a great pride and understanding of what the emphasis is and go(ing) out and doing it."

Ohio also totaled 26 assists, passing the benchmark of 20 that Christian set heading into the game. Senior guard D.J. Cooper had 16 assists in addition to his nine points and four steals.

"When we have posts running and D.J. with the ball in the open floor, he’s going to find the right guy," Christian said. "Just the way he plays should encourage guys to run harder. I think we did that."

All indications are that junior forward T.J. Hall, who was sidelined with knee soreness Friday, will suit up for Ohio. 

The Bobcats' matchup with the Terriers marks their first on short rest this season, but senior guard D.J. Cooper said the quick turnaround doesn't bother anyone in the Ohio locker room. 

"We practice hard, but as a player, you love to compete and go out there and play back-to-back games as long as you’re taking care of your body," he said.  

Wofford, which returns well less than half of its scoring punch from last season, is coming off a defeat to Ball State Friday.

The Terriers' starting five consists of four underclassmen and junior forward Aerris Smith, who averages less than three points and five rebounds per game.

Guards Karl Cochran, a sophomore, and Spencer Collins, a freshman, lead the Terriers with 19 and 15 points per game, respectively.

Sophomore forward Lee Skinner has also contributed 12 points and nine rebounds per game this season. Indiana Faithfull, a sophomore guard, rounds out Wofford's starting five. He averages a point and and more than four assists per game.

 

Look back at the Bobcats' last game, a 38-point win against UNCW, here.

Follow The Post Sports and basketball beat reporter Jim Ryan on Twitter for game updates.

 

First Half

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 Terriers began the game with a steal and a pair of free throws, giving the Bobcats lower hand for the first tim since their season-opener against Portland. 

Kellogg knocked down Ohio's first basket on the ensuing possession, but was called for an over-and-back on his next trip down the floor — Ohio's second turnover in less than three minute of game play.

Ohio senior forward Reggie Keely was the first reserve to check in for Ohio, making his first appearance inside the 17-minute mark. 

The Terriers established early that they want to push the pace. The run-and-gun style plays into Ohio's hand, but it isn't something the Bobcats have seen yet this season, per se.

Junior guard Travis Wilkins was the next to check in for Ohio, entering the game with 15:30 remaining in the first half.

Keely had the Bobcats' first powerful play of the game at the 14:30 mark, taking a strong layup through the lane for an and-one opportunity. 

Soon thereafter Cooper was called for his second technical foul of the season for complaining to the referee about what he thought was a non-call kicked ball. 

He was subbed out for sophomore guard Stevie Taylor at the next opportunity. Junior guard Ricardo Johnson also made his first appearance at that point. Ohio led 11-8 with 11 minutes remaining in the half.

The Bobcats' full-court press on inbound attempts gave Wofford trouble early on, as it was forced to call a timeout on one occasion and had a small handful of communication problems otherwise.

Baltic and Cooper brought the Bobcats' lead to 17-11 inside the nine-minute mark with a three-pointer from the corner and a steal-and-layup play, respectively.

Kellogg emulated Cooper's play on the following possession, finishing with a layup in transition. He also knocked down a three from the wing on the Bobcats' next possession — his second from long distance on the day. 

Baltic hit a corner two to bring the score to 24-11 with 6:19 remaining. 

Offutt and Cooper opened up Ohio's lead with a short jumper and runner, respectively, leading into the half's final four minutes.

The Bobcats were on a 22-5 run since being tied at eight at the half's 13-minute mark. 

Keely had his second and-one opportunity after putting back a layup with a foul on the Bobcats' next possession, but, like his first attempt, missed the extra shot.

He also collected a rebound from a Kellogg three-point attempt and turned it into two points with less than a minute remaining in the half to give the Bobcats their final points leading into the break.

 

Halftime: Ohio 34, Wofford 16

The Bobcats shot 63 percent from the floor in the first half, but converted only three of their eight free throw attempts and were marred by 10 turnovers — only two less than they committed in 40 minutes against UNCW Friday.

Ohio allowed the Terriers to complete only three of their 21 attempts from the floor in the first half. They were able to get to the line, though, tallying nine points from the charity stripe — albeit on 14 attempts. 

Kellogg was the Bobcats' leading first half scorer, totaling ten on four-of-seven shooting. Keely led the way for Ohio in the paint, tallying eight points as well as three rebounds, an assist and block. Cooper had seven points, two rebounds, two steals and an assist.

 

Second Half

Ohio opened the second half on a mid-range jumper from Baltic before stopping the Terriers twice on the defensive end. 

Cooper then connected on a pair of three-pointers, which sandwiched a Wofford conversion from downtown, as well.

Smith slammed home a dunk, too, which was followed by another Wofford three, bringing the score to 44-22 with 15:13 remaining. 

Faithfull knocked down the Terriers' third three of the half with just more than 13 minutes left, while the Bobcats' fell into a bit of a lull offensively, converting only one shot from the floor for upward of three minutes before Wilkins hit his first three of the game.

Faithfull followed up the score by hitting another from beyond the arc, bringing the score to 51-30 with 11:11 left in the game. 

Taylor checked into the game for only the second time with 10 minutes remaining and immediately made his presence felt, taking a steal the length of the floor for a layup, in which Wofford was whistled for goaltending. 

The Terriers' Jarell Byrd knocked down his second three of the game with 8:30 remaining to bring the score to 55-35.

Hall checked in for Ohio for the first time at the six-minute mark. It was his first appearance since the Bobcats' season-opener. 

He forced a steal within a minute of game play, and recorded an assist on the Bobcats' next possession. He also cashed in a pair of layups with less than three minutes left in the game.

The Bobcats held steady through the game's final stretch, as Wilkins hit his second three of the game. 

Senior guard David McKinley and redshirt junior guard Nick Goff checked in with two minutes left in the game. 

 

Final: Ohio 73, Wofford 50

The Bobcats moved to 3-0 on the year with the win, which was completed in convincing fashion. Ohio's 17 turnovers were suspect, but its 57 percent from the field outweighed the negative. 

The Terriers also outrebounded Ohio, pulling down 31 boards compared to the Bobcats 28.

Ohio hit 41 percent from beyond the arc, and doubled Wofford's eight assists on the day.

The Bobcats dominated in the paint. They had 28 post points, as opposed Wofford's 12.

 

Stats

Keely: 16 points, five rebounds, two blocks, no personal fouls

Cooper: 15 points, three rebounds, two steals, two assists

Kellogg: 10 points, three assists, two steals

Baltic: Nine points, three rebounds, two assists

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Cochran: 14 points, three rebounds

Faithfull: 12 points, three rebounds, two assists

Skinner: Eight points, five rebounds, two assists

 

Reactions

"From the 12-minute mark on, I thought our defense really took over. We kept them off the foul line from that stretch, started turning them over like we are capable of, (which) enabled us to get out on the break and do the things we’re capable of doing." — Christian, on the Bobcats' defensive play

 

"They’re able to kick it into gear when they know what’s going on. You just have to point out a couple things to them and then they start communicating. When we play the way we’re capable of playing on defense, it’s always in the right spot, we have very active hands, and the guys on this team, the one thing that continues to impress me is that we anticipate plays very, very well. Once we got back to that, I thought we got some easy baskets." — Christian, on Ohio's defensive play and response to first half turnovers 

"When he runs the floor and posts deep, he’s as good as anybody I’ve ever had at it. It also opens up plays for other guys, because when he runs and buries the rim, it kind of shrinks the defense." — Christian, on Keely's play

 

"I know that I had problems with foul trouble earlier in the year, but I know I can’t do anything from the bench, so that’s been my main focus." — Keely, on staying out of foul trouble

 

Twitter Notes

A couple quick thoughts...

Ohio's turnover margin potentially concerning...

Solid performance from Keely, except from free throw line...

Shots have been falling for Ohio. Third straight game better than 50 percent...

It's a 40-minute game for a reason...

 

Up Next

Ohio (3-0) faces Hampton (0-2) Tuesday at The Convo. The Pirates lost by 10 points to Richmond Thursday. 

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