Preview: Ohio Faces Another Tough Test In Valparaiso

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Ohio will continue its difficult out of conference schedule Sunday when it takes on the Valparaiso Crusaders in the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats enter the game at 1-1 after winning their opening game against Northern Iowa and dropping a difficult contest in Columbus, Ohio, to Ohio State. Ohio fell behind early in that game, as it struggled adjusting to Ohio State’s defensive intensity.

The Bobcats did eventually adjust, though, and cut Ohio State’s lead, which had been a double-digit lead for the majority of the game, to five points late in the second half. They never got over the hump to take the lead, but their resilience and intensity in the second half were impressive.

Ohio will need to bring that same intensity on Sunday when they square off with Valparaiso (2-1).  The Crusaders are also coming off a loss to a Big Ten team, as their last game was a 64-52 loss to Illinois.

Senior guard Jordan Coleman led the crusaders with 15 points and eight rebounds. Coleman’s fellow senior guard, LaVonte Dority, also chipped in 12 points for the Crusaders.

Coleman and Dority lead Valparaiso in scoring with 15.0 and 14.0 points per game, respectively. The matchup in the backcourt will be an interesting one to watch, as both Stevie Taylor and Nick Kellogg have gotten off to good starts this season.

Coleman, who stands at 6-foot-5, and 6-foot-10 Vashil Fernandez are the team’s co-leaders in rebounding with 6.7 rebounds per game.

Fernandez, along with Bobby Capobianco and Moussa Gueye, will present a challenge for Ohio’s frontcourt, as they all stand at 6-foot-10 or taller. The Crusaders feature six players that are 6-foot-6 or taller, so rebounding will be a key for Ohio.

The Bobcats did well on the boards against Ohio State, though, as the Buckeyes only totaled one more rebound than the Bobcats. If the Bobcats can attack the glass like they did against Ohio State, they may be able to nullify the Crusaders’ height advantage.

The action between Ohio and Valparaiso is set to tipoff at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center on Sunday.