Ohio Defeats Northern Iowa In Season Opener, 75-64

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Ohio got its 2013-14 campaign off to a good start Saturday, as it defeated Northern Iowa, 75-64.

The Bobcats used a balanced attack and an aggressive defense to come out on top Saturday. Ohio forced 12 Panther turnovers Saturday, which it converted into 18 points. The Bobcats went to a 2-3 zone multiple times Saturday, and the zone was particularly disruptive. Northern Iowa initially could not handle it, as Ohio’s length and activity made it difficult for the Panthers to move the basketball effectively in the half-court.

Four players scored in double digits for Ohio, but the most impressive game came from junior forward Maurice Ndour.

With 20 points and 5 rebounds, Ndour showed everyone in attendance why there was considerable hype surrounding him heading into the season. He put all facets of his game on display against Northern Iowa Saturday, as he made two 3-pointers and scored from the low post as well. Ndour blocked two shots and altered plenty of others, forming a defensive duo with senior forward Jon Smith.

“We've got long arms, and we just make sure we protect the rim," Ndour explained.

Ohio head coach Jim Chrisitan was impressed with Ndour’s play, as he noted how confidently Ndour played.

Ohio received a strong game from point guard Stevie Taylor once again. The sophomore scored 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting, while also setting up his teammates with eight assists Saturday. Taylor’s counterpart, Javarez “Bean” Willis, made his debut for Ohio, scoring six points, but Taylor stole the show in the Bobcats’ backcourt.

For the second straight week, Taylor showed a great command of the offense and made the simple, smart play.

When Northern Iowa showed signs of taking control of the game late in the second half, Nick Kellogg stepped up. The senior guard made two 3-pointers in the final seven minutes and finished a reverse layup to put Ohio up, 69-63, with 1:36 left in the game, recapturing the momentum for Ohio. Kellogg poured in 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

Despite being the go-to guy in the final seven minutes, Kellogg believes anyone can be that guy for Ohio.

"I think we've got five go-to guys. I think at any point in time, anybody’s number could be called,” he said.

Ohio will have its work cut out when it travels to Columbus, Ohio, to take on No. 11 Ohio State (1-0) on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.