Updated Sat, Dec 8, 2012 7:41 pm
The Ohio men’s basketball team returned home Saturday to face a tough Oakland Golden Grizzlies team in hopes of rebounding after two tough road losses. Led by senior point guard D.J. Cooper, the ‘Cats did just that, winning by 17 points, 78-61.
Ohio (7-2) dominated late in the half, after some very physical play that helped Ohio outscore Oakland 22-6 in the paint. The lead changed a total of six times in the first 15 minutes of the game. In a change of tone from the team’s last two games, Ohio held its own in the paint, battling for tough rebounds on both sides of the court and scoring inside. Despite Oakland’s Travis Bader managing to score 15 in the first half, Ohio took command of the game in the final four minutes of the opening period. Kellogg, Offutt and Cooper all made big threes late as a part of the Bobcats’ run. Ohio entered halftime with its largest lead of the game to that point, up 10 on Oakland 39-29.
The ‘Cats started off slow out of the break, but they finished strong. The Golden Grizzlies went on an 18-9 run at the start of the half, cutting the lead to as little as one with just more than 15 minutes left in the game. Oakland’s Travis Bader led the way nailing four three-pointers in the first five minutes of the half. With lackluster interior play by the Bobcats, Oakland finally regained the lead with fewer than 13 minutes left in the game on a huge two-handed slam by a wide-open Raphael Carter. Travis Wilkins responded a few minutes later tying the game 53 apiece with a three, following up with another trey a minute later to put Ohio up 56-53. Wilkins’ threes sparked a 21-2 run over the next 8 minutes. Oakland didn’t score again until there was less than three minutes remaining when Bader nailed a pair of free throws to end the dry spell. It was too little too late though as Ohio went on to win 78-61.
“In Coop We Trust”:
Senior point guard D.J. Cooper recorded his second double-double on the season with 10 points and 13 assists. Cooper played a well-rounded game tonight, adding five rebounds to his stat sheet. Cooper made the entire team better, helping lead the way for three other Bobcats to score in double digits.
Walter Offutt on how important it was to come out and win at home after two tough road losses: “I think it’s good for us. I think coming off of two losses in a row, we needed to re-find who we are.”
D.J. Cooper added: “We never lost confidence. But it feels real good, especially to lose two in a row like we did. It feels great to come back in to The Convo and get a nice win against Oakland.”
The team doesn’t play again until Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. when it welcomes Winthrop (3-4) to the Convo. After playing four games in 11 days, the team could use the extra time off to rest before taking on an Eagles team that features a prolific scorer in sophomore guard Derrick Henry, who is averaging 16 points a game.