Men’s Basketball: Bobcats Beat Wofford 73-50

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Reggie Keely finished with 16 points and five rebounds to lead Ohio (3-0) to its third consecutive victory to open the season. The Bobcats defeated Wofford College 73-50 Sunday afternoon.

“I just got to focus every time out on doing my job,” said Keely, who is averaging more than 14 points per game so far this season, “and running the floor and trying to get deep post game. That’s the way I can benefit the team.”

D.J. Cooper and Nick Kellogg finished second and third, respectively, to Keely in the scoring column. Cooper finished with 15 and Kellogg with 10.

Ohio earned its win by way tremendous defense, but not in the ‘Cats’ typical fashion of piling on turnovers and scoring in transition. The defense locked up the Terriers’ offense, holding them to 30 percent shooting from the field.

The Bobcats got off to a slow start, not able to get into any kind of rhythm. Wofford (1-3) slowed the game down to a snail’s pace, which put Ohio in a difficult situation, minimizing the Bobcats’ transition offense.

Ohio and Wofford traded baskets – very few baskets at that – for the first seven minutes of the game to sit at an 8-8 tie. Ohio then began to ramp up the intensity on defense, forcing turnovers and finding its groove.

“From the 12-minute mark on,” said head coach Jim Christian, “I thought our defense really kind of took over. We kept them off the foul line for that stretch, started turning them over the way we’re capable of. We were able to get out on the break and do the things we’re capable of doing.”

Kellogg dropped a three-pointer with 11:39 remaining in the half to break the tie, sparking Ohio’s offense. The Bobcats outscored Wofford 26-8 from that point until halftime.

The Bobcats ended the half shooting lights out at 60.9 percent while holding the Terriers to a measly 14.3 percent. Despite the slow start, the Bobcats finished the half with a 34-16 lead.

Ivo Baltic started the second half quickly with a jumper to break the Bobcats out to a 20-point lead. Wofford finally managed to drop a field goal for the first time in more than eight minutes when Jarell Byrd hit a three. But it was sandwiched between two D.J. Cooper threes and chased with a Jon Smith dunk.

Ohio continued its tear through the second half, never leading by less than 20 points in the period and leading by as many as 25. A combination of consistent shooting and sturdy defense powered the Bobcats to the final buzzer.

The victory is Ohio’s second in a matter of three days and the ‘Cats have another opportunity for a win Tuesday against Hampton.

“The good thing about the early season for us,” said Christian, “is we’ve played different styles each night and Hampton’ll be another different style. They’re going to come at us a little bit. It’s going to be an interesting test for us.”

Tuesday marks the fourth consecutive home game to start the season for Ohio. The Bobcats have Richmond (Nov. 24) and St. Bonaventure (Nov. 28) at home before hitting the road for the first time this season when they head to Robert Morris on Dec. 1.

*Photo Credit: Kate Hiller