Updated Thu, Feb 6, 2014 5:36 pm
Ohio followed up its best effort of the season with one of its worst efforts of the season in its 90-74 road loss to Western Michigan on Wednesday.
Riding high after a huge win over Toledo, Ohio knew that its game against the Western Michigan Broncos was a trap game, but that didn’t keep them from falling into the trap. The Bobcats played loosely on the defensive end and sloppily on the offensive end.
Ohio allowed four players score 18 or more points for Western Michigan. Austin Richie led the Broncos with 22 points, followed by David Brown with 20 and Shayne Whittington and Connar Tava with 18 each.
The Bobcats, usually a fundamentally sound defensive team, let the Broncos get whatever they wanted Wednesday night, which resulted in Western Michigan shooting a scorching 59.6 percent from the floor and 61.5 percent from deep. To make matters worse, Ohio could not play defense without fouling. Rather than rotating over and playing defense with their feet, the Bobcats often swiped at the ball and picked up cheap fouls.
Six different Bobcats finished with 3 or more fouls and Travis Wilkins fouled out. The Broncos shot 35 free throws and made 26 of them. It’s difficult to win when you send your opponents to the line that many times, and Ohio found that out the hard way Wednesday.
As poorly as Ohio played, it held a 57-54 lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. That was when things went downhill for Coach Christian’s squad, though. Western Michigan outscored Ohio 36-17 from that point on thanks in large part to the 20 free throws it shot during that stretch.
One of the only things that carried over from Saturday’s win against Toledo was the hot shooting. The Bobcat shot well, going 28 for 54 from the field and 11 for 23 from 3-point range.
The problem for Ohio offensively was turnovers. The ‘Cats turned the ball over 16 times against Western Michigan.
While it is easy to overreact to a loss like this, it is important to remember that this was a trap game. Ohio was coming off the biggest win of the season, and it was facing one of the better teams in the MAC in Western Michigan. It is difficult to see Ohio play this poorly again going forward, especially considering how well the team played in its previous game.
Ohio will have a chance to rebound from this loss Saturday when it hosts Miami (9-11, 5-4).