Ohio Men’s Basketball Wins Season Opener With FGCU

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Ohio men’s basketball was in action on Saturday against former NCAA tournament Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast, and the Bobcats won their 11-straight season opener 85-75.

The Bobcats lost a lot from last year’s team, including guards Stevie Taylor, Ryan Taylor and Javarez Willis and forward Maurice Ndour. This year’s team features some returners like Treg Setty, Antonio Campbell and Khari Harley as well as some transfers in Jaaron Simmons and Kenny Kaminski. But the player of the game today was junior forward Wadley Mompremier. He had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

“Wadly was everywhere,” head coach Saul Phillips said. “I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch someone who is finally healthy out there do some of the things he told me he could but I was never really sure he could.”

Campbell was in foul trouble for much of the second half after he picked up his third foul only 1:10 into the second half. Mompremier was forced to play big minutes in the half, and he had nine points and nine rebounds in 13 minutes. Not only did he contribute in the stat sheet, but he also provided a lot of energy. After the game, FGCU head coach, Joe Dooly, said that was the difference in the game.

“Today it felt great and I think I surprised a lot of people and I am going to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Mompremier said.

Ohio got off to an 11-4 lead to start the game, and then FGCU went on an 8-3 run to make it a four-point game. The two teams traded baskets until FGCU freshman guard Rayon Tucker got a steal and a transition dunk to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead. The game remained close until Ohio went on a 10-1 run and gave the Bobcats a 39-30 lead. Kaminski, who had 17 points and nine rebounds, beat the buzzer before half to give Ohio a 43-36 lead.

FGCU went on a 9-2 run and tied the game at 45 to start the second half, but over the next seven minutes Ohio went on an 18-7 run and led 63-52. The Bobcats kept the lead in double digits for the next seven minutes, but the Eagles would not go away. They cut the led to six points, but eight Simmons free throws iced the game for the Bobcats.

Simmons, attempted 17 free throws, and had 20 points, seven assists and four steals. Campbell had 11 points and six rebounds.

Ohio has a quick turnaround, as it plays Tennessee State on Monday in the Convocation Center at 7 p.m.