Ohio Falls In First Road Test 84-76 To Robert Morris

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Perfection was the name of the game for Robert Morris’ Karvel Anderson. Anderson shot 10-10 from the field and 8-8 from behind the arc to lead the Colonials (4-4) in an 84-76 victory over Ohio. The loss was the first for the Bobcats this season and the first of Jim Christian’s tenure as head coach, putting Ohio at 6-1.

“You’re going to run into some nights where people get hot and they shoot the ball well,” said Christian, “and guys who don’t make shots make shots. But at the end of the day, if you score 76 points, you should win on the road.”

It was a tale of two halves for the ‘Cats’ D.J. Cooper, who finished with 19 points and 10 assists. The point guard’s final line is good and one of his best this season, only it came after a first half with just two points and four assists.

Ohio’s first half as a collective started slow with the Bobcats trailing by as many as 17 points. The Colonials held a 31-14 lead before Ohio slowly crept back into the contest with 4:19 remaining in the half.

Walter Offutt kickstarted the comeback with two free throws and Stevie Taylor helped to clean things up, coming off the bench for 11 points in the half. He didn’t score in the second half.

Ivo Baltic hit a big three following a triple by Taylor with just under two minutes remaining to cut the Robert Morris lead to single digits. The Colonials were forced to take a timeout to try to squelch Ohio’s newfound momentum. Baltic’s was the second consecutive Bobcat three.

Taylor got the opposing crowd’s volume to a minimum when he hit Ohio’s third straight three to put the Bobcats down by six to end the half. Such was the momentum burst Ohio needed heading into the second half. After starting so slow, it was promising for Christian to see his team start a surge to end the period.

But the promise wouldn’t last. It seemed to have the same empty capacity of all Ohio’s runs throughout the game. It seemed as soon as the Bobcats got any bit of momentum, it was stripped away by a meaningless foul.

“Every time we got the game to five or six, we fouled,” said Christian. “And it was a position foul. It was an overly aggressive foul. It was just silly things. We weren’t changing the way we played with how the game was being called.”

Much credit goes to the play of Robert Morris on offense, aggressively attacking the basket and not giving an inch to the Bobcats on defense. The Colonials shot 35 free throws, making 28 while Ohio shot only 19 free throws, making 13.

This was Ohio’s fourth loss to Robert Morris in as many seasons. The question for Ohio, now, is how it responds this time. Last season the Bobcats’ loss to the Colonials thus began a 1-3 stretch in which the ‘Cats shot their worst percentage all season. The same type of stretch could, at the very least, kill the team’s confidence that took much to overcome last season.

Christian can hope that Saturday’s loss can serve as a wakeup call to his club as the Bobcats head into, arguably, their toughest nonconference game of the season when they head to Memphis. The Bobcats and Tigers showdown on Wednesday, Dec. 5.