Men’s Basketball: Ohio Defeats UNC Wilmington 85-47

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A slow start plagued Ohio in its first game of the season, but sluggishness was nowhere to be found in the second. Ohio defeated UNC Wilmington 85-47 to move to 2-0 on the young season.

The Bobcats started on a 15-0 run, quickly punishing what appeared to be a sloppy Seahawks team. Ohio forced them into seven consecutive turnovers to start the game. The quick first half lead put Ohio up big and the ‘Cats rolled from then on, going wire-to-wire for the victory.

After a quick steal by Ivo Baltic on the Seahawks’ first possession, Nick Kellogg hit his first shot of the game from beyond the arc to open the scoring. Offutt followed immediately with an old-fashioned three-point play to kickstart UNC Wilmington’s seven-turnover rut.

The Seahawks slowed Ohio as the game approached the ten-minute mark, playing healthy help defense, trapping Ohio in corners without open shots. The Bobcats earned many of their points in transition, which gave the ‘Cats a huge momentum burst to the tune of the home crowd’s cheers. Ohio finished Friday’s game with 27 points on fast breaks.

Baltic’s first half against the Seahawks went much better than his first half against Portland. Baltic finished the half shooting 5-7 from the field as compared to 1-9 last time.  He finished with a team-leading 20 points, six rebounds and four steals on the game.

“[Baltic] came out and played real confident,” said Cooper. “He didn’t have his best game last week, but he bounced back tonight.”

The ‘Cats began the second half quickly as well with a 10-4 run to earn a 26-point lead. Cooper, although scoring less than usual, racked up assist after assist, finishing with 14 dimes. Cooper assisted two Baltic dunks, one dunk by Reggie Keely and a fast-break layup by Ricardo Johnson – all inside 10 minutes to play. Cooper even added a layup of his own in transition in that span.

“Coach has got some trust in me,” said Cooper, “so I just go out there and play comfortable.”

The frontcourt performed well also, minimizing UNC Wilmington’s talented big man Cedrick Williams. Coming into the game, Williams had 19 points and 20 rebounds on the Seahawks’ two-game season with a double-double in his first game against UNC Asheville. Williams finished the evening with two points and two rebounds.

Ohio also outrebounded the Seahawks by 12, a great accomplishment for a team struggling on the glass. The ‘Cats beat UNC Wilmington by five on defensive rebounds.

“I was really happy,” said head coach Jim Christian. “[Rebounding] was a major goal for us today. Not to outrebound them, but we wanted to get nearly 72 percent of the defensive rebounds and we exceeded that.”

The Bobcats checked off almost every goal on Christian’s pregame to-do list. They outrebounded UNC Wilmington’s large frontcourt, got out to a hot start with a high shooting percentage and they walked out of the arena 2-0.

*Photo credit: Kate Hiller