Ohio Men’s Basketball Recap

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Ohio’s home exhibition with Marietta was closer than the Bobcats would’ve liked, but the Green and White ultimately came away with an 82-69 victory in front of a crowd of more than 11,000.

Maurice Ndour and Treg Setty came alive in the second half, giving the team the spark they needed to pull away and get the win. After a disappointing first half in which the ‘Cats trailed 40-37, Ndour and Setty’s energy helped get the crowd back into the game. After only scoring two points in the first half on 1 for 6 shooting, Ndour erupted in the second. He finished the game with 18 points and made seven of his last eight attempts to go along with nine rebounds.

The game started expectantly, as Stevie Taylor hit a three from the corner to put Ohio up 3-0. Ndour had a huge slam on the next possession, making it 5-2. From there, the Bobcats seemed to fall asleep and take their Division III opponents for granted.

“You couldn’t pick a worse start,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “But they held together. That’s good, because guess what, it isn’t going to be the last bump in the road this year. I promise you that.”

Marietta came out firing from behind the arc, converting on four of its first seven attempts from deep. Taylor was the only thing keeping the Bobcats in the game over the first few minutes of the game. He converted on three back-to-back driving lay-ups and scored all 15 of his points in the first half.

The Pioneers came out plenty of energy, and that showed in their eight second-chance points in the first half to go along with six 3-pointers. The Pioneers led by as much as 14 points in the first, and it looked like they were going to run away with the game.

“That was a team that came out and took it to us for a while,” Phillips said. “They outworked us for some rebounds.”

With 6:52 left in the first, the Ohio defense stepped up. Marietta made just one of their last eight shots and turned the ball over five times to finish the half. The defensive adjustment allowed Ohio to close the gap heading into the locker room.

In the second half, the Bobcats came alive. Defensive pressure by Javarez “Bean” Willis gave Marietta’s offense some trouble, and Ndour converted on the offensive end. Ndour scored 11 of Ohio’s first 19 points in the second half, including a three-point play with 17:38 left in the game that gave the Bobcats their first lead since the 15:44 mark in the first.

After settling for outside jumpers in the first, Ndour and the Bobcats got the ball into the paint and saw higher percentage looks at the hoop.

The energy of the Pioneers was still there, but the Bobcats managed it and wore down the Pioneers.

The Bobcats came away with victory, but showed they have plenty of room to improve

“That’s why it’s important you do an exhibition like this,” Phillips said. “You got to see kids under the lights a little bit.”

The season officially gets underway Nov. 15 at 2 p.m., when Appalachian State comes to the Convocation Center.