Men's Basketball: Ohio squares off against Miami in final regular season game

Bobcats are in search of 100th win against RedHawks

Ohio senior guard D.J. Cooper has said several times over the course of the season that he’s trying to soak in the last moments of his senior season and savor what’s left of his collegiate career.

He will be afforded his final opportunity to do so during game action at The Convo Saturday when Ohio takes on rival Miami on the Bobcats’ senior night. With a win, Ohio would clinch a share of the Mid-American Conference regular season title.

Ohio’s five-man senior class is the most heralded in program history, as it has won 92 games and boasts three 1,000-point scorers.

It has the opportunity to put a crescendo on its play inside The Convo against the RedHawks (8-20, 3-12 MAC.)

The Bobcats (22-8, 13-2 MAC) locked up a No. 2 seed for next weekend’s MAC Tournament with a win against Bowling Green last Saturday and moved to 7-1 in MAC road games for the first time in program history Tuesday against Buffalo.

Miami brings up the rear in the MAC East, and, even with a win, can rank no better than a No. 10 seed for the conference tournament. The RedHawks are the losers of eight straight games, and have fallen in their past two by a combined margin of 34 points.

Ohio is in search of its 100th win against Miami — the most against any opponent in program history — and has won each of the teams’ last three meetings.

Most recently, Ohio ousted Miami by 12 points on Jan. 23 in a 12-for-25 three-point shooting effort. The Bobcats haven’t shot that well from beyond the arc since.

Ohio junior guard Nick Kellogg snapped out of a shooting funk against Bowling Green by draining four of his nine attempts from long range.

Last time against Miami he had his best shooting performance of the season, as he hit five threes.

The RedHawks are the MAC’s worst at defending the three, as they permit their opponents a 38.4 percent mark from three-point range.

They also allow the second-most points per game among MAC teams and are the one team that fares worse than Ohio in rebounding.

Ohio and Miami recorded an equal amount of rebounds in their previous meeting, but the RedHawks had 15 offensive rebounds — almost double the Bobcats’ total.

Ohio coach Jim Christian said after the teams’ first matchup that taking care of the ball on the offensive glass was an area of concern for the Bobcats.

Miami’s one-two punch of redshirt juniors Will Felder, a forward, and Allen Roberts, a guard, accounted for more than half of its offense on Jan. 23.

Ohio won’t have to worry about containing the latter half of that attack Saturday, however, as Roberts will miss the remainder of the season with a meniscus tear.

The Bobcats failed to contain Buffalo’s potent frontcourt Tuesday, as Will Reagan, a sophomore, and Javon McCrea, a junior, had 20 and 19 points, respectively, on nine field goals apiece.

Ohio’s bench outscored the Bulls’ 27-6 in its comeback win, and was led by the performance of senior forward Ivo Baltic, who shot 50 percent from the field and scored 12 points.

He recorded a double-double and passed the 1,000-point plateau in Ohio’s last game against Miami.

After squaring off against Miami Saturday, the Bobcats will have the better part of a week to prepare for the MAC Tournament before heading to Cleveland, where the fate of their postseason will be decided.

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