Ohio Rides Big Win Over Toledo Into Kalamazoo

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Ohio finally put together a complete 40-minute game in its last game, a thrilling 95-90 overtime win over Toledo. The question is no longer, “Can this team compete for a full 40 minutes with top level competition?” It’s, now “Can it compete for 40 minutes every night?”

The Bobcats will have a chance to answer that question Wednesday when they travel to Kalamazoo to take on the Western Michigan Broncos (12-8, 5-3).

After defeating their toughest competition in the MAC, Toledo, it doesn’t get any easier for the Bobcats, as Western Michigan is the only other MAC team to defeat the Rockets this season.

Ohio will have its work cut out on both ends of the floor, as Western Michigan is second in the conference in field goal percentage (.450) and fourth in opponent’s field goal percentage (.399). Ohio, though, is no slouch in those categories either with the Bobcats coming in fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (.444) and second in opponent’s field goal percentage (.385).

On the defensive end, the Bobcats will attempt to contain senior guard David Brown, who leads the team in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Containing Brown is no easy task. No team has held the Bronco guard to single-digit scoring this season. Brown’s varied offensive game can be credited for that. He can beat his defender off the dribble to get to the hoop or rise up and shoot a jump shot over defenders.

In addition to Brown, Central Michigan has an imposing force down low in senior center Shayne Wittington, who averages 14.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Wittington’s size could cause problems for Ohio. The Bronco big man stands at 6-foot-11 and 245 lbs.

With such a large frame, Bobcat big men will have to make a conscious effort to keep Wittington off the boards Wednesday night. Rebounding will certainly be a concern for Ohio after giving up 15 offensive rebounds to Toledo. The Rockets went on a 12-0 run to take the lead from Ohio in the second half Saturday thanks to second-chance points.

One of Western Michigan’s weaknesses is that it tends to turn the ball over often. The Broncos are near the bottom of the MAC in assists-to-turnover ratio (0.8). Ohio is at its best when it gets stops and forces turnovers because it can push the ball and force its opponents to play at a fast tempo. When the Bobcats are playing well defensively, it translates over to the offensive end, so facing a team that turns the ball over often works in Ohio’s favor.

With the win over Toledo Saturday, Ohio answered one of the largest questions surrounding this Bobcat team. Now, it’s time for it to answer the next biggest question, which it will attempt to do Wednesday against Western Michigan.