Updated Fri, Jan 24, 2014 4:10 pm
Following a disappointing loss to Bowling Green, Ohio is looking to bounce back on Saturday when it takes on Eastern Michigan (11-7, 3-2).
In Ohio’s last game, Bowling Green’s 2-3 zone gave the Bobcats fits. The key to beating a zone defense is to move the ball, get the ball in the middle and attack the gaps in the defense. Ohio consistently kept the ball moving, but it did not get the ball into the middle of the defense.
If the Bobcats actually managed to enter the ball into the big man in the high post, he usually just turned and kicked it back out, which allowed the Falcon defenders to recover and get back in position. Rather than passing the ball back out to the wing, Ohio big men could have attacked the basket, shot a mid-range jump shot or pass it to the other big man, who was open in the short corner for an open jumper.
Ohio instead settled for 3-pointer after 3-pointer and unfortunately for the Bobcats, they were not shooting well from the perimeter, as the ‘Cats only went 6-for-22 from 3-point range.
The good news for the Bobcats is that they know they did not execute against the zone defense, but the bad news is that they’re playing a team in Eastern Michigan that plays an even tougher zone defense than Bowling Green.
Bowling Green is a team that can play both a zone defense and man to man. Eastern Michigan, however, relies heavily on its zone. It uses the zone to slow the game down and keep it a low scoring game, which is important for the Eagles because they do not shoot particularly well. The Eagles only shoot about 42 percent from the floor and 30 percent from 3-point range.
Playing at a fast pace will be vital for Ohio. Not only would it give Ohio more opportunities to score, it would also force Eastern Michigan to shoot more often and to take bad shots.
In his first season with the team, Karrington Ward leads the Eagles in scoring with 14 points per game. The 6-foot-7 forward also leads the team in rebounding with nearly 7 rebounds per contest.
Mike Talley, who is also seeing his first action with Eastern Michigan this season, is the team’s second leading scorer, putting up nearly 11 points a game. However, like most of the Eagles, Talley is not efficient. The former Duquesne Duke only shoots 39 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range.
Ohio and Eastern Michigan have an early tip-off Saturday, as the game is set to start at 11 a.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.