‘Cats Struggle, But Tie History

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On the brink of a historic mark, Ohio (12-1) played what head coach John Groce called "an ugly game," but it was pretty enough to get the victory, 71-63 on Friday night in the Convocation Center and tie the program's best start to a season at 12-1.

The Owls trailed by just one point after the first half, they kept in the game by shooting 6-11 from three. Ohio stopped the outside shot in the second half as Kennesaw State went 2-10 from deep, and the Bobcats got hot from beyond the arc shooting 6-12 in the second 20 minutes.

Nick Kellogg led the charge in the second half, scoring all 14 of his points in the frame. He did most of his work from deep shooting 4-7.

"I think we did a good job of moving the ball tonight," Kellogg said about Ohio catching fire from the three-point line in the second half. "D.J. is such a good creator and draws a lot of defenses, so when he finds an open guy he's willing to pass it… it's up to us to knock down the open shots when we get them."

Kellogg's 14 points was the third best by a Bobcat. Walter Offutt had a productive 11-point first half and finished with a team-high 17 points. Ivo Baltic also had eight quick-points in the first half and finished the night with 15. D.J. Cooper tied Kellogg with 14 on an efficient, 5-8 from the field. 

Kellogg not only sparked the scoring in the second half, but the defense. He led the 'Cats with four steals, three int he second half. The team had 12 total swipes with six different players recording a steal.  

But try as they might, Ohio could not put the Owls away on Friday. The Bobcats led 39-32 with 15:19 remaining in the second half, but then Kennesaw State rebuttled with a 12-5 run, sparked by eight straight points by Delbert Love, to tie the game at 42 at the 12:30 mark. 

One reason KSU was able to hang with the 'Cats was a lack of a united effort.

"We didn't have all hands on deck tonight," Groce said. "We had contributions from a lot of guys tonight, but for us to reach our max potential we need everybody that we play like rolling and tonight we weren't, until we do… we still have things to work on."

Kellogg knocked down another three that squashed the Owls' run and began a14-2 Ohio stretch that put the Bobcats up 56-44 with just under nine minutes left in the game. Ohio was able to hang on to win by eight.

Groce called the game a "tale of two halves," and he couldn't have been more right.

The Owls shot 54-percent from three, so the coach made the adjustments to take away the deep ball in the second half, and Ohio did. But Kennesaw State shot 11-19 from inside in route to a 37-point second half. 

This 2011-12 Bobcats team will try to best the 1920-21 'Cats, who also began 12-1, on Monday night when Ohio hosts Robert Morris (10-4).