Instant Reaction: Ohio Flies Past Richmond in Second Half

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Ohio defeated Richmond 73-48 Saturday behind a second half in which it outscored the Spiders 46-18. Walter Offutt, D.J. Cooper, Jon Smith and Nick Kellogg all finished the game in double figures for the Bobcats, who have now won 14 consecutive games in the Convocation Center dating back to last season. With the win, Ohio advances to 5-0 for the first time since the 1969-70 season.

First Half Struggles: Ohio began the game as cold as the weather outside the Convo. Richmond was active defensively, getting in the Bobcats’ passing lanes and disrupting the flow from the opening tip, forcing two turnovers on Ohio’s first two possessions. The Bobcats, who came into Saturday’s game +9 in turnovers, finished the half with 10 giveaways to just nine takeaways.

Ohio also struggled with fouls in the first half. Ivo Baltic, Jon Smith and Reggie Keely each acquired two personal fouls before the break as Ohio committed 11 fouls as a team. Furthermore, the Bobcats shot just 10-of-30 in the first 20 minutes, down from their season field-goal percentage of .521. Richmond’s Derrick Williams (6’6”, 270) scored 14 points in the first half and made eight of 11 free throws. Richmond took a 30-27 lead into the locker room at the end of one.

Role Reversal: The second half was a completely different story. Ohio came out firing, led by the unusual offensive aggressiveness of Jon Smith (see below), on its way to a 46 point half. The Bobcats outscored Richmond by 28 in the second half, shooting 17-of-28 and 8-of-13 from three. Ohio also forced 10 turnovers with just three giveaways in the second 20 minutes.

On the other end of the floor, Richmond struggled shooting the ball. The Spiders converted on just four of 16 second-half shots, and Williams was held in check with just three second-half points.

Turning Point: Near the 14-minute mark, D.J. Cooper received a pass from Ivo Baltic at the top of the key. The senior gave a head fake, thought about the shot and decided, "why not let it fly." Cooper rattled home his first 3 of the game, sparking a 15-3 run during which Ohio converted on five of six three point opportunities and took a commanding lead. At the 15-minute mark, Ohio trailed 38-36. Five minutes later, the ‘Cats held a 51-41 lead and the fans in the Convo were on their feet.

Hitting the Glass: Ohio outrebounded Richmond 36-26 on the day thanks to 14 offensive boards. The Bobcats had 20 second chance points off those offensive rebounds. The +10 rebounding margin was a nice change in pace for the Bobcats, who were grabbing boards at -3.0 compared to their opponents coming into the game.

The Fantastic Mr. Smith: Jon Smith ignited the Bobcats at the beginning of the second half, scoring seven straight points to open the frame. Smith contributed heavily on the glass with four offensive rebounds to go with his 13 points. He also did a lot of little things well, setting screens on handoffs here, tipping rebounds to teammates there. Smith's 13 points are a season high for the junior.

In Coop We Trust: As senior point guard D.J. Cooper goes, so the Bobcats tend to go. This was about as true as it has been all season today, as the floor general overcame a cold first half to lead the Bobcats with 12 points in the second frame. Cooper hit three of the five three pointers during Ohio’s aforementioned 15-3 run, and neither he nor Ohio looked back.

Thanksgiving Two-a-Days: Ohio practiced twice on Thanksgiving Day to prepare for today’s game. Said Smith on the holiday double shift, “We understood that Richmond is a really good team, the Princeton offense should be respected…this is my family, so I didn’t mind spending extra time with my family.”