Updated Wed, Feb 12, 2014 12:38 pm
The first matchup between Ohio (17-6, 7-3) and Toledo (20-3, 8-2) was a 12-round slugfest between a pair of MAC heavyweights, with Ohio coming out on top with a 95-90 overtime victory. The two heavyweights will meet again on Wednesday in Savage Hall.
The teams traded baskets and runs on their way to overtime when Ohio sealed the game thanks to several Maurice Ndour baskets and an impressive display of one-on-one defense that resulted in a five second violation on Julius “Juice” Brown.
Ohio executed exceptionally well on offense the first time these two teams met, and it will need to do the same again Wednesday. The team moved the ball crisply, causing the defense to move and giving the Bobcats open shots. The ball movement led to Ohio shooting nearly 54 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range.
Ndour went off for a career-best 28 points and 12 rebounds against J.D. Weatherspoon, who finished the game with 16 points and 8 rebounds.
While the offensive execution will be important, the ‘Cats will have to hang their hats on their defense. It’s hard to expect both Ndour and Stevie Taylor, who had 23 points in the first meeting, to have career-best outings against the Rockets again.
Brown led the Rockets with 28 points and 8 assists in the loss to the Bobcats. The junior guard killed Ohio with a series of pull-up mid-range jump shots. Brown often used a screen from a Toledo big man to free himself up and take one or two dribbles to the right before pulling the trigger. Brown was not as effective going to his left the first time these teams met, so forcing Brown to go to his left will be key for Ohio if it wants to slow down Toledo’s leader.
Ohio will catch a break on the defensive end, as the Bobcats will be facing a Justin Drummond-less Rockets squad Wednesday night. The junior guard was suspended for the game against Ohio due to a recent DUI arrest. Drummond is Toledo’s leading scorer at 14.6 points per game. He fouled out of the first game after scoring 12 points on only 4 for 11 shooting.
However, Drummond’s absence may be felt more noticeably on the defensive end, as he would be guarding Nick Kellogg, who is playing well and coming off his best performance of the season with a career-high 27 points against Miami.
The ‘Cats will need to put together another complete game against the Rockets, as it took Ohio’s best performance of the season to beat Toledo in the first go around. In addition to that, this game is at home for Toledo, where the Rockets are undefeated this season.