Updated Thu, Jan 9, 2014 10:06 pm
From start to finish, Ohio’s high-energy, man-to-man defense did not allow the Miami offense to establish itself. Miami’s (4-9, 0-2) below-average 29 percent shooting from downtown and 25 turnovers lead to a 97-79 Ohio (6-7, 1-1) win, its first conference victory of the season.
It took almost five minutes of play for Miami to put points on the board. By the time 10 minutes had elapsed, Ohio lead 22-9. A brief Ohio cold streak allowed Miami to bring the deficit back down to the single digits, but Ohio quickly rebuilt its double-digit advantage and never looked back.
Ohio’s defense, which caused 15 Miami turnovers in the first half alone, created transition opportunities and the chance to build a comfortable lead. RedHawk guards handed it over to Kiyanna Black and Quiera Lampkins at the top of the key on several occasions, leading to easy lay-ups on the other end. Fatigue quickly set in on Miami players with most of their time on defense spent sprinting back to the bucket.
This building fatigue gave Ohio advantage on hustle plays. The RedHawks failed to box-out on several Ohio free throws, giving the ‘Cats more opportunities on the offensive end. The ‘Cats also chalked up 11 offensive rebounds and dove for every loose ball, giving them the advantage in the hustle category.
Head coach Bob Boldon, who continuously stresses playing hard to his players, credited his team’s hot start and continued dominance to those very hustle plays.
“Our challenge now is to do it again,” Boldon said. “Good teams do it time after time after time. That’s what we’re striving to be: a good team.”
With aggressive play comes fouls. Much of Miami’s point total came from the free throw line, shooting 29-of-38 from the charity stripe.
Miami opened up with a man-to-man defense, but Ohio’s off-ball movement created open driving lanes and high-percentage looks. Lampkins made a living off of cuts to the basket, leading all scorers with 24 points.
Guard Mariah Byard was glad that all of the team’s hard work in practice lead to open looks at the hoop.
“They always go in during practice and to see them go in during games in awesome,” Byard said.
When the driving lanes closed up, Ohio fired away from beyond the arc. Six different Ohio players contributed to a 13-for-33 performance from 3-point land as a team. Black and Mariah Byard lead the way with a combined seven 3-pointers between them.
With each successful attempt from the field, Ohio’s body language perked up. Energy on both ends of the floor was abundant and each Ohio player contributed. Every player on the roster scored at least two points and registered at least seven minutes. Five different players tallied point totals in the double-digits, with Yelle coming in with nine points.
Boldon said that having points come from all players allows his team to stretch the floor.
“I like to see things work out for kids who put in the work,” Boldon said. “It’s nice to see them get rewarded by being able to perform well in games.”
Ohio’s 97 points is the 11th highest single-game point total in Ohio history. Only six points separated this performance from the fifth spot on that list.
Despite the offensive explosion, Boldon still hoped that his defense could have allowed fewer than 79 points. Boldon said that having to score 80 points to win should not become habitual.
The Bobcats get a chance to improve upon their defense when they welcome the Western Michigan Broncos (6-7, 2-0) to the Convocation Center Sunday at 2 p.m.