Bobcats Beat La Salle, Snap Two-Game Skid

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Led by great defense, and clutch shooting the Bobcats improve to 7-2 on the year with a 74-63 victory over the La Salle Explorers on Friday to capture its first of two games in the Georgia State Holiday and Hoops Classic.

The Explorers went on a 12-5 run that cut the Bobcats lead to 55-53. Ohio struggled to find open shots and was forced into turnovers during this stretch, and the game swung in the favor of the Explorers.

However, Mariah Byard and Lexi Baldwin each hit a 3-pointer to extend Ohio’s lead to seven following a timeout with 7:36 left. The two shots led a 12-1 run for the Bobcats that put Ohio back up 68-56 with 4:30 left in the game. Byard caught fire during this run, with two important 3-point shots. La Salle attempted to  come back, but was unable to cut the deficit below eight.

“They made a run like we expected they would, and then our kids did a tremendous job responding,” said coach Boldon. “We moved the ball around, and when we play this way, we have been successful.”

The Bobcats got off to a very slow start, only scoring four points in the first four minutes, while La Salle only scored three. With 12:11 left in the half, Ohio trialed 12-11. Coming out of this media timeout, the Bobcats defense only gave up two points in a five-minute stretch. During the stretch, Ohio took and extended the lead to 19-13.

Ohio looked to extend the lead to 10 on multiple occasions, but La Salle stuck with the Bobcats. Boldon called a timeout with 3:15 left in the first half, as Ohio hung onto a slim 31-27 lead. Ohio lead by Kiyanna Black’s 11 points took a 40-32 lead into halftime.

The Explorers switched up defense, going from a three-quarter-court press to man-to-man. The defense forced Ohio into seven turnovers in the half. However, Ohio forced La Salle into 10 turnovers and held the Explorers to only 38 percent shooting going into the locker room. Ohio shot 50 percent from the field, and 45.5 percent from 3-point territory.

Ohio came out of the locker room, and quickly took a 44-34 lead with 17:17 to play. Ohio looked to take control after finally getting a 10-point lead, but La Salle stuck with the Cats. Ohio took a 44-38 lead into the first media timeout of the second half with 15:37 left in the game. Ohio only gave up three points in a five-minute stretch to take the largest lead of the game at 54-41 with 10:12 left in the game.

“I like winning,” said Boldon after the Bobcats ended the team’s two game losing streak.

Ohio forced La Salle into 24 turnovers, including 7 steals. The Explorers found shooting difficult, as the Bobcats held the Explorers to 40 percent shooting on the night. Ohio chased La Salle off of the 3-point line, as the Explorers only attempted nine shots from deep and only converted three of those attempts.

Ohio shot 43.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from behind the arc tonight. The Bobcats once again struggled from the free throw line, shooting only 60.7 percent (17-28). Quiera Lampkins registered a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.  Lampkins lived at the line tonight, shooting 16 free throws and making 12 of them. Mariah Byard, Kiyanna Black and Lexi Baldwin each had 11 points. The Bobcats had a total of 14 assists, led by who had Byard five, and Kat Yelle who had four.

Ohio will play UMass Dec. 20 to finish its stint in the Georgia State Holiday and Hoops Classic.

“UMass is a team that is going to try to do the same as La Salle, do some 5-out offense. We are going to be tested and it’s a real quick turnaround,” Boldon said.