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Following the loss to Bowling Green last week, it was important for Ohio to get back in the win column, which it did with its come-from-behind 58-56 victory against Eastern Michigan Saturday.
The Bobcats trailed for the majority of the game, all but the final 0:26 of it, in fact.
Javarez “Bean” Willis, who came off the bench to score 12 points, gave the team its first and only lead when he made the eventual game winning 3-pointer late in the second half.
Ohio handled Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone well despite only shooting 33 percent from the field. It moved the ball well and got the ball into the middle of the zone. The Bobcats worked for good looks and had open shots; they just didn’t make them.
The improvement against the zone was a welcomed sight, as Ohio looked utterly lost when it faced zone defenses earlier this season. The resiliency that the team demonstrated was encouraging as well. It’s easy for a team to roll over and die when it shoots as poorly as Ohio did against the Eagles.
Instead of giving up, the Bobcats buckled down at the defensive end and held Eastern Michigan to 35 percent shooting in the game, keeping Ohio in the game. On the offensive end of the floor, the Bobcats kept working for good shots, and they finally started falling as the game came down the stretch, making their last six shots after starting 14-for-54.
Ohio returns to the Convo Wednesday to take on a scuffling Central Michigan squad (7-11, 0-6). The Chippewas enter the game with Ohio riding a six-game losing streak. Defense has been the issue for Central Michigan during the losing streak.
In four of the six losses, the Chippewas have given up more than 75 points. In its last game, an 82-74 loss to Akron, the Zips shot 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.
With the recent shooting problems, Ohio will be glad to face a team that is struggling defensively. The matchup with the Chippewas will present Ohio with an opportunity to get back on track offensively before its game against MAC West leading Toledo on Saturday.
The ‘Cats cannot overlook Central Michigan, though. The Chippewas actually led in the second half of its game against Akron before eventually losing the contest.
Central Michigan has multiple players that can score, with Chris Fowler being the main threat. Fowler leads the team in scoring with about 17 points per game. In addition to being the team’s top scoring threat, he is also its main distributor, as he averages five assists a game.
John Simons averages about 11 points per game and six rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 forward shoots 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. Blake Hibbitts, who averages nine points per contest, is also a 3-point threat, as he is shooting 40 percent from deep this season.
Ohio and Central Michigan will square off in the Convocation Center Wednesday with tip-off set for 7 p.m.