Ohio Looks to be Patient against Northern Illinois< < Back to
Saturday’s matchup between the Ohio Bobcats and the Northern Illinois Huskies features two squads that are seemingly headed in opposite directions.
The Bobcats had won two in a row before falling 80-68 to Mid-American Conference leading Akron in a game that was far closer than the score suggested. On the other side of things, the Huskies have lost three straight to drop from 5-1 to 5-4 in conference play.
Northern Illinois has prided itself on stifling defense, but the team has struggled on that side of the ball recently, giving up an average of 79 points per game in its three-game skid.
The Bobcats, on the other hand, excels offensively, averaging 77.1 points per game, which checks in at third best in the conference. However, the ’Cats would like to see more patience on the offensive end in this contest.
“If you’re impatient against Northern Illinois you’re not going to have an easy time, so we have to rotate the ball better, unlike what we did the first time we faced them,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips noted. The first time these teams played Ohio fell 80-69 in DeKalb, Illinois.
This rematch is important for both teams. Ohio is trying to carry the momentum of a strong first half finish into the last nine games, and Northern Illinois is just trying to regroup. The first time they faced off Ohio got into serious foul trouble, and Tony Campbell fouled out.
Campbell played a season-low 13 minutes in that game, and having him on the court for a large part of contests has been big for Ohio. The Bobcats are 6-1 when Tony Campbell plays 30 minutes or more. Even in that lone loss, on the road against Kent State, Campbell contributed 21 points and 9 rebounds in 31 minutes.
Needless to say, watch for Northern Illinois to force Campbell and the rest of Ohio to play physical hoping to get the team into foul trouble. If Ohio avoids the same foul issues it had the first time they met with the Huskies, then a much closer game should be expected.
The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.