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Men's Basketball: Ohio's second half comeback brings a win for the Bobcats
Ohio defeated Miami 82-75 on Saturday after receiving a huge boost from senior guards.
Following Ohio’s loss at Western Michigan last week, coach Jim Christian challenged the senior class to step up their toughness, effort and focus.
All three facets Christian implored came into effect Saturday, especially through Ohio’s guard play — seniors Nick Kellogg and Travis Wilkins each posted career-high point totals during an 82-75 come-from-behind victory against Miami.
The game marked the first meeting in the Battle of the Bricks since the death of former RedHawks coach Charlie Coles. Christian honored Coles by donning a green mock turtleneck — a tribute to Coles affinity for wearing a red mock turtleneck during games. He said that as long as he is at the helm of the Bobcats he will wear the attire when the schools meet.
After trailing by 15 points at halftime, the Bobcats fended off the RedHawks, with Kellogg and Wilkins contributing 27 and 23 points, respectively. They accounted for 28 of Ohio’s second-half points.
The Bobcats outscored Miami 50-28 in the second half and forced eight RedHawks turnovers.
“We knew we weren’t playing very well (in the first half),” Wilkins said. “We needed to bring more energy, and I feel like the second half, we brought more energy which made us play better on both defense and offense.”
The Bobcats are now 7-4 when trailing at halftime this season, highlighting a trend of Ohio’s ability to rebound after facing adversity. In six of their last 12 games, the Bobcats have come back from second-half
deficits of 10 or more points.
“Obviously we know we can play better so its kind of frustrating we’ve kind of done this (come back) like (six) times,” Kellogg said. “We come in that locker room at halftime just, we know what we need to do out there. I think it just starts with energy and having a belief in one another and our team.”
Wilkins, who made three of his six 3-pointers in the second half, helped spurn a 22-5 run with 14:25 remaining and Miami failed to make adjustments.
“I thought in the first half we allowed him (Wilkins) to get his confidence up and get a couple threes,” Miami coach John Cooper said. “He was the guy I thought in the first half who really posed a problem for us … when a guy gets hot like that you’ve got to make some adjustments and I thought frankly we broke down in that area and a couple times we weren’t alert as we needed to be.”
Miami, which entered the contest as the worst three-point shooting team in the Mid-American Conference, opened the game with a 13-5 lead and knocked down seven 3-pointers in the opening stanza.
“We can’t keep digging ourselves out of these holes, but I’m proud of the resiliency of this team,” Christian said. “It’s not all us, we played poorly no doubt, but they (Miami) played really, really well. There’s two teams out there trying to win a big game.”
Ohio 82 (17-6, 7-3 MAC)
Miami 75 (9-12, 5-5 MAC)
— Travis Wilkins and Nick Kellogg each scored career-highs
— Ohio is 7-4 when trailing at halftime this season
This article appeared in print under the headline "Ohio bests Miami in Battle of the Bricks"