Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Bobcats Can’t Hang with Akron Without Campbell

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After a dunk by Akron’s Emmanu Olojakpoke, Bobcat guard Jaaron Simmons picked up the ball, slammed it in his hands and yelled in anger.

This was the story of the second half for Simmons and the Bobcats as they lost to the Akron Zips 83-68 Tuesday in James A. Rhodes Arena.

Simmons and the Bobcats were without Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Tony Campbell and his absence was more noticeable then the teachers pet not being in class. Campbell has a right foot injury and his return at this point is unknown.

“We have no update, we are going to get him further evaluated,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “He can’t really move it right now so we need to see what is going on moving forward.”

The game was close in the first half as Simmons and Ohio trailed only by three points at half time. The Bobcats held a lead with about three minutes remaining in the half but the Zips were too much to handle, especially their senior forward and leader, Kwan Cheatham, Jr.

Cheatham, Jr. had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds and he took advantage of Campbell’s injury. If Campbell played he would have most likely guarded Cheatham, but lets not get into “what ifs.”

“I hate getting into what ifs here,” Phillips said. “But I guess we’ll see when they comeback to our place later on this season.”

With Campbell not on the court, not only does Simmons miss him but the Bobcats offense and defense do as well. Without him in the middle, the Zips were able to rattle off dunk after dunk and penetrate the lane at will.

It seemed like every other play for Akron in the second half was a slam-dunk.

“Too many lay ups,” Phillips said. “They got dunks off the base-line and that doesn’t fly here. We kept on having defensive breakdowns and you can’t win if that happens.”

The Bobcats have basically been without Campbell the last three games due to foul trouble against Buffalo, his injury against Eastern Michigan in the first half and in Tuesday’s rout. Simmons and Campbell run the pick and role well and are able either to score off of each other, or find an open man on the wing.

Ohio guard Jordan Dartis, who is always a threat behind the 3-point line, would have loved to have Campbell out there as well. He then said that he hates seeing his teammates not able to compete because of injury and also can’t wait for the rematch later this year.

“I am not only looking forward to that game,” Dartis said. “I am looking forward to every single game from here on out. I’m a competitor and can’t wait to step foot on the court again.”

The Bobcats will take on Northern Illinois this Saturday at Northern Illinois Convocation Center. It is unclear if Campbell will play, but his status will most likely be known in the next few days.