Updated Sat, Feb 8, 2014 12:11 am
After its loss to Western Michigan, Ohio finds itself in a peculiar position. In their last two games, the Bobcats have quite possibly played their best and worst basketball of the season.
The Bobcats’ 90-74 loss to Western Michigan, their most recent, is quite a change from their 95-90 overtime victory over Toledo. Defense unraveled Jim Christian’s squad against the Broncos, as it allowed Western Michigan to shoot 59.6 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from 3-point range.
The loss against the Broncos marked the second straight game that the Bobcats gave up 90 points. Toledo is one of the best offensive teams in the nation. Western Michigan, on the other hand, has an average offense.
Against the Broncos, Ohio played defense with its hands instead of its feet. Rather than rotate over to pick up the ball handler, Bobcat defenders simply reached for the ball and picked up cheap fouls. The Broncos went to the free throw line 35 times and made 26 of those attempts in their win.
Defense will again be the key for Ohio on Saturday when it takes on Miami (9-11, 5-4), as the Bobcats’ offense has seemingly turned a corner with its past two performances. Minus a cluster of turnovers, the Bobcats played well offensively against the Broncos. They shot 51.9 percent from the floor and 47.8 percent from 3-point range and moved the ball well in the first half of the game.
One of the keys for Ohio will be containing Will Felder, who leads the RedHawks in scoring with 14.2 points per game. The senior does it efficiently too, shooting 53.8 percent from the floor. One of the problems for Miami is that Felder does not receive much help with only one other player averaging double-digits in scoring.
If Ohio can contain Felder and hold Miami below the 65-point mark, it stands a good chance to come away with a much needed bounce-back win. The RedHawks have only lost four times this season when they score at least 65 points.
Make no mistake about it; this is an important game for Ohio. It needs to recapture the momentum it had following the win over Toledo before its rematch with the Rockets next week and before it heads down the stretch of the regular season.