Ohio Defeats Ashland In Exhibition, 66-44

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The Bobcats took care of business against Ashland Saturday, as they defeated the Eagles, 66-44, in an exhibition game at the Convocation Center.

Several players had impressive showings in Ohio’s lone exhibition game, including senior guard Ricardo Johnson, who finished the game with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. The most impressive part of Johnson’s performance was his offensive game. For the first three years of his career, Johnson was not an offensive threat. However, against Ashland, he proved that he can be a viable offensive option for a deep Ohio team.

“I was just playing my game, just being patient, being solid, letting the game come to me,” Johnson said of his performance Saturday.

One of the largest question marks about the 2013-2014 Ohio Bobcats is the starting point guard position. That question was not answered against Ashland as junior point guard Javarez “Bean” Willis was serving a one-game suspension as a result of an incident this past spring.

Willis’ fellow junior point guard Stevie Taylor did play and was impressive in his first action of the season. Taylor, who showed a good command of the offense, totaled 10 points, 7 assists and 4 steals. He played under control and made the smart play throughout the game against the Eagles. Taylor explained that he just wants to help his team win.

Ohio got off to a slow start and found itself trailing, 9-5, with 15:38 left in the first half. Following a timeout, though, Ohio went on a 14-0 run that featured three-pointers from Travis Wilkins, T.J. Hall, Taylor and Maurice Ndour to reclaim the lead.

Ndour demonstrated his versatility in his first game as a Bobcat. He looked comfortable shooting from the outside as well playing down low. He finished an alley-oop pass from Johnson with a thunderous dunk. Ndour also had a big block on the defensive end. Ohio head coach Jim Christian had high praises for Ndour following the game.

“He’s obviously got a unique skill set, and he plays very, very hard,” Christian said. “He’s got so many unique gifts, I think he’s just going to get better and better.”

The Bobcats finished the first half strongly and headed into halftime leading, 37-22. Then they came out of halftime and put the game away early in the second half with a 9-1 run.

 While there were many positives for Ohio Saturday, Christian was not totally satisfied with his team’s performance.

"We're not a team that should be shooting 25 threes a night," Christian explained. “We’re a more versatile team than that.”

Christian also mentioned that there were some blown defensive assignments.

Ohio will look to improve on those things before Saturday when it opens its regular season against Northern Iowa at home. Tipoff at the Convocation Center is set for 2 p.m.