Slow First Half Dooms Ohio Men’s Basketball On The Road

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Nothing seemed to be going right for Ohio men’s basketball on Wednesday night, as the Bobcats dropped a road matchup with Florida Gulf Coast, 79-62.

Ohio’s abysmal shooting percentage and poor first half led to the downfall of the Bobcats. Ohio finished the game shooting 20 of 60 from the field, which was a huge upgrade after shooting just 5 of 31 in the first half.

The Green and White actually won the second half by seven points, but that wasn’t near enough to come back from the 25-point, first-half deficit. The Bobcats held a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game, but that was the only time all game that they were in front.

“They’ve got a special team here,” head coach Saul Phillips said. “I like watching them play. I like the way they play.”

The Eagles went on a 16-2 run over a four minute period in the opening half, and that sucked the life out of Ohio. The Bobcats were struggling to get anything going on the offensive end of the court, and couldn’t stop anybody on the other end.

FGCU shot just over 59 percent from the field in the first half, including five 3-pointers, and the Bobcats simply couldn’t keep up. Ohio converted only five assists the entire game, compared to the Eagles’ ten that they had in the first half alone. The Eagles were passing the ball around and getting good, open looks, while the Bobcat offense looked stagnant at times.

“When we become good, we’ll share the ball like they do,” Phillips said. “At times in the second half, we did. But it’s a learning process for us.”

Redshirt junior forward Treg Setty is one player that the Bobcats would have loved to have tonight. Setty, who sat out the game due to his competing in an unsanctioned sporting event, is an energizer off the bench who usually comes in and gives a spark whenever Ohio is looking flat. Without his presence down in Fort Myers, Fla., the Bobcats just didn’t have that spark, and couldn’t catch fire in the first.

Coming out of halftime, Maurice Ndour had a much larger impact on the game than he did in the first. Ndour had just four points at the half, but came out of the locker room and put 12 more on the board for Ohio.

Javarez “Bean” Willis, who served his one-game suspension for the same incident as Setty in the opener against Appalachian State, came back with a vengeance in this one. Willis also had a slow first half but he lit up the Eagles for 14 points in the second, bringing his total to a team-high 17 in the game. He also dished out a team-leading three assists and came away with two steals on the night.

The Bobcats have been slow starters in the young season, going back to their exhibition matchup with Marietta College.

“Two games would be pretty quick to give up on a group,” Phillips said. “Slowly and steady, we’ll get better. We’ll be alright.”