Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Ohio and Central Michigan to Square off in Matchup of Strong Offenses

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Saturday’s contest between the Ohio Bobcats and the Central Michigan Chippewa’s will feature two teams that have similar styles and are in need of a win to get to .500 in MAC play.

Both team’s come into the match with a 2-3 record in MAC play. Ohio has beaten Western Michigan and Ball State and fallen to Kent State, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois. Central Michigan has defeated Akron and Bowling Green and fallen to Eastern Michigan, Buffalo and Northern Illinois. Both teams explosive offenses in the MAC but struggle on the defensive end of the floor.

The Bobcats’ strength is their offense. Ohio ranks second in the MAC in points per game at 79.4 while shooting 38 percent from behind the arc, good for second in the conference. The team makes 77 percent of its free throws which is fourth best in the country.

Offense is the least of the Bobcat’s concerns. Rather they are focused on improving at the other end of the floor where opposing teams hit 39 percent of their 3-point attempts. That is the worst in the Mid-American Conference. The Bobcats give up 74.2 points per game, second worst in the MAC. The only team worse? Central Michigan.

Central Michigan comes into the game giving up 75 points per game. The opposition shoots 45.6 percent from the field against Central Michigan, also worst in the MAC. However, like Ohio, the Chippewas are led by their offense, scoring 77.3 points per game. Also like the Bobcats, Central Michigan shoots the long ball well with 182 made 3-pointers, the second most in the MAC.

Junior guard, Braylon Rayson is not only one of Central Michigan’s best players but one of the best in the conference. He averages a team-high 17 points per game and shoots an impressive 40.5 percent from behind the arc.  Senior forward Rayshawn Simmons chips in 14 points and seven rebounds per game.

Antonio Campbell and Jaaron Simmons lead Ohio in scoring at over 15 points per game. Against Western Michigan, just his second game back from injury, freshman Gavin Block played 33 minutes and scored 16 points. Ohio will need that type of a performance again from Block because the Bobcats could once again be without freshman Jordan Dartis who is in the concussion protocol.

Ohio has a size advantage in this game and rebounds better than Central Michigan does, but this game will come down to which team gets more stops, especially in the second half. Both teams can and will score, but whichever team can limit the turnovers and contain the 3-point arc will be in good shape.

The winner of this game will be .500 and back in contention. The loser will fall to 2-4 and face an uphill battle in a tight Mid-American Conference. The game is in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m.