Updated Sat, Nov 3, 2012 5:28 pm
The Jim Christian era unofficially began Saturday in the Convocation Center with an 82-42 victory over Mercyhurst.
Ohio received a strong effort from guard Nick Kellogg, who finished with 19 points on 7/9 shooting. The junior’s early success from behind the arc sparked a 13-0 run in the first half, and the Bobcats never looked back.
First half: Kellogg and redshirt senior Walter Offutt were firing on all cylinders early, each hitting a pair of three-pointers. Offutt had six points in the first half and finished the game with 10 points.
The Bobcats forced 22 turnovers and only allowed 17 points in the first half. Guard D.J. Cooper led the way on defense with 3 steals in the first half.
Key statistic: Ohio also had its share of turnovers in the first half. The Bobcats had 12 turnovers in the first half and only 10 assists.
The second half was a different story, though. The Bobcats put more emphasis on controlling the basketball and only had four turnovers the entire half, while forcing nine. After having two turnovers in the first half, Cooper didn’t have any in the remaining minutes. The guard finished the game with seven points and nine assists.
Play of the game: With 16:14 remaining in the game, Cooper and T.J. Hall took advantage of a two-on-one fast break. Cooper drove left and delivered a behind-the-back pass to a cutting Hall. The six-foot-five forward took the pass in stride to slam it home. The play finished an 11-0 run by Ohio to put them up, 51-17.
Deep Bench: In the first half alone, Christian played 10 different players with each contributing in some way.
Forward Reggie Keely came in for Jon Smith, who was in foul trouble. Keely finished the game with 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks. He also hit all seven of his free throw attempts. Ricardo Johnson also finished the game with eight rebounds off the bench.
Guards Stevie Taylor and Travis Wilkins offered new looks for Ohio. Taylor helped provide energy at the point guard position, and Wilkins, a transfer from Snow College, had five points in the first half with one three-pointer.
Hall continues to come back strong from a knee injury from last season. He fell awkwardly on his slam-dunk from the Cooper pass, but he got up and finished the game with six points.
Key Quote: Kellogg on moving forward: “We have bigger goals than to beat Mercyhurst. We have to think about things that we did wrong. Coach is going to go back and watch film and tighten up the things that need to be tightened up on the offensive end and defensive end. Once we do that, we’ll continue to get better each and every day, each and every practice, each and every game.”
Next up: Ohio takes on Portland at the Convocation Center to open the 2012-13 season next Saturday at 2 p.m. The 2011-12 Sweet Sixteen team will be recognized before the game.