Updated Mon, Nov 21, 2011 2:57 pm
The Ohio Bobcats continued their winning ways in Sunday’s game against Arkansas State, taking down the Red Wolves 69-54.
It was smooth sailing for Ohio (3-0) as it led for nearly the length of the game. Ohio head coach John Groce was pleased with his team’s performance in getting ahead early and finishing off Arkansas State.
“I don’t know if we did everything perfect or not,” Groce said. “But I felt like that’s as complete a 40 minutes as we’ve played so far through the three games.”
The challenge of finishing was set for Ohio at the halftime break. The Bobcats came out in the second half with a 13-point lead. Ohio has had trouble holding onto the lead and finishing opponents strong – the best example being the season’s opening game against Tennessee-Martin, in which the ‘Cats were outscored 34-14 in the second half.
However, in this contest, Nick Kellogg drained two consecutive threes with nine minutes to go, breaking the game wide open. Kellogg finished the game with 13 points, tying him for the team lead with Reggie Keely and D.J. Cooper.
Ohio only trailed once (by one point only two minutes into the game). At that point, Ohio went on a 17-5 run to go ahead by double digits and steamrolled the Red Wolves for the remainder of the game to gain its third win of the young season.
An important factor in Ohio’s first half run was Walter Offutt. The redshirt junior piled in five points and pulled down five rebounds during that stretch. Offutt finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds, his second consecutive game with nine boards. Offutt said Ohio made it a goal to be one of the top rebounding teams in the nation.
“It’s one thing [Groce] emphasizes, rebounding,” Offutt said. “Any time I have a chance to get in there and help any of our bigs, I’m going to help.”
With the win, Ohio sits at 3-0 as it heads into a matchup with nationally-ranked Louisville. Not only will this be the Bobcats’ toughest opponent to date, but it will also be their first game on the road this season.