Ohio Men’s Basketball Falls To Belmont

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The Ohio men’s basketball team had three different players score in double-figures, but they couldn’t hang on as they fell to Belmont, 83-81, on Saturday.

The Bruins (6-1, 0-0) came into the Convo and defeated Ohio (2-2, 0-0) thanks to their junior guard Craig Bradshaw. Bradshaw torched the Bobcats defense for 42 points, including the game-winning basket.

After turning the ball over 20 times against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, the Bobcats only committed two against Belmont. They were much smarter with the ball and ran the offense well. The problem for Ohio came on the defensive side of the ball.

“After a win, you try to learn something. After a loss, you try to learn something,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “A huge step was taken forward tonight offensively. But the fact of the matter is, it’s a game we can learn from.”

The Bobcats got down early on in the game, but crawled their way back throughout the first thanks to the hot shooting of their two point guards, Javarez “Bean” Willis and Stevie Taylor. Willis and Taylor accounted for 29 of Ohio’s 41 first-half points. Their ball control and scoring touch kept the Bobcats in the game, even when facing an 11-point deficit midway through the opening half.

“I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied because we did lose the game,” Taylor said. “I’m happy that my team, we grew today. This loss will help us out come later in the season.”

Those two seniors led the way for Ohio all game, but their spark didn’t catch with the rest of the Bobcats. Freshman Ryan Taylor put up 16 points in the game, but the three of them weren’t enough to compete with the three-point barrage that Bradshaw was pouring in for Belmont. Bradshaw converted on eight of his 12 attempts from deep. The rest of the Bruins weren’t hitting as consistently as Bradshaw, but they complimented him enough to get the win.

“We were good tonight, but not good enough,” Phillips said. “We aspire to be good enough to beat good teams. It will get there if we continue to work and continue to listen.”

Ohio had the size advantage inside, and outrebounded the Bruins 40-30, but Belmont’s outside scoring ability was enough to counteract Ohio’s size. Senior Maurice Ndour was a non-factor on offense for most of the game, only scoring nine points on 4 of 11 shooting. He did grab 10 boards, but his shot wasn’t falling early, and that took away some of his aggression on that end of the floor.

The Bobcats beat Belmont in almost every statistical category, including field goals made, turnovers, rebounds and bench points, but didn’t win the one category that really matters: points. Belmont hit four less shots on ten less attempts, but hit five more deep balls and one more free throw. The outside shooting was ultimately the deciding factor. Ohio just couldn’t seem to stop the Bruins from knocking down their shots from outside.

“That was a very well-played college basketball game,” Phillips said. “My baseline for where this team can get to and what we can accomplish didn’t get any lower tonight, it got higher.”

Ohio will continue its home stand next Saturday against St. Bonaventure. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. in the Convo.