Updated Mon, Dec 2, 2013 3:17 pm
A strong non-conference schedule has repeatedly tested the Bobcats so far this season, and time after time the Bobcats have passed with flying colors.
This time the test was in the form of the Evansville Aces, who entered the game with a 5-1 record. Once again, the Bobcats passed the test, defeating the Aces 81-59 Saturday.
The Bobcats grabbed an early 7-4 lead over Evansville and did not look back, as they entered halftime with a 42-26 lead over the Aces. Ohio was active on the boards in the first half as the Bobcats ripped down seven offensive rebounds. They also scored 12 points off turnovers.
The bench, however, was the major factor for Ohio’s successful first half. Ohio’s bench outscored Evansville’s bench 16-2 in the first half.
"For the first time all season when we went to the bench the energy picked up,” head coach Jim Christian said.
Some of the bench production included Javarez “Bean” Willis, who scored 12 points and had 3 assists and 2 steals off the bench for the Bobcats and Travis Wilkins who pitched in 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting in the game.
The second half was all Ohio as well. A 15-1 run in the second half highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Travis Wilkins pushed Ohio’s lead out to 77-43. The 34 point lead was the largest lead of the game for the Bobcats.
Ohio knew that defense would be a key to defeating the Aces, and the Bobcats showed impressive play on the defensive end of the floor on Saturday. The team managed to hold D.J. Balentine, who came into the game averaging 27 points per contest, to 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting from the field.
Ohio held the Aces to 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range, which were both extraordinary feats as Evansville entered the game shooting 51.8 percent from the field.
It was not all good for Ohio Saturday, though. With Ohio holding a large lead, Maurice Ndour went down late in the second half with an ankle injury. He had to be helped off the court by two trainers.
The injury was diagnosed as a sprained ankle, and Ndour will receive an MRI Sunday.
"He had a sprained ankle coming into the game and we think he just re-sprained it," Christian explained.
Ndour and the rest of the Bobcats will have plenty of time to rest as they do not play again until December 7 when they will travel to Rochester, Michigan to take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (0-7).