Ohio University men's basketball coach Saul Phillips
Photo: Logan Riely

Ohio Gives Up Huge Lead in Loss to WMU

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Deja vu for Jason Carter. The freshman forward had a chance to tie the Ohio Bobcats and Western Michigan Broncos at 88 points apiece via the 3-ball, but it ended the same way as his last game-winning attempt against Toledo.

A clank of the rim, and a 90-85 Ohio loss.

It was that kind of night for Carter from downtown, who finished 1-of-7 from 3-point land while leading the team in scoring with 21 points on 43 percent shooting from the floor.

The Bobcats trailed for less than a minute of the game, but it ended up being the only minute that mattered. Western Michigan stuck to their game plan and slowly chipped away at an Ohio lead that ballooned to 21 points near the end of the first half. Offensive rebounding was the Broncos catalyst, ripping down 13 to the Bobcats eight.

It also didn’t hurt to have Thomas Wilder on the floor.

The Montgomery, Ill. native leads the Broncos in scoring at 17.7 points per game and it was easy to see why. Wilder torched the Ohio defense to the tune of 29 points while shooting 53 percent from the floor. Twenty-two of those points came in the second half, as Ohio had no answer for his offensive play style. A seasoned junior, Wilder utilized his experience to reach the free throw line 15 times, converting 10. One of those free throws gave Western Michigan their first lead of the game with less than two minutes to play.

Jaaron Simmons (18 points) and Kenny Kaminski (17 points) rounded out the top scorers for Ohio on a night where the team shot 47.8 percent from downtown and 51.8 percent from the field. Kaminski started the night scorching hot from downtown, hitting four of his first five from deep. Unfortunately for Ohio, the senior fouled out with 44 seconds to play and was exiled to the bench when his shooting stroke was most needed.

Jordan Dartis rounded out the Bobcats in double figures, scoring 11 points on just five shots for the sophomore guard.

Similar to last season, defense has once again become the Bobcats main issue after starting the season strong on that end of the floor. Look no further than the Antonio Campbell injury for the main culprit. Ohio gave up just 66.1 points per game prior to his injury. With Campbell on wheels, the Bobcats are allowing 78.3 points per game. That 12-point difference is no coincidence, Campbell consistently shut down his matchup while gobbling up rebounds at will. The Bobcats lost one of the best defensive talents in program history, and their recent scores reflect that.

Ohio will try to get the defensive side of the ball figured out before they welcome the Mid-American Conference-leading Akron Zips into the Convocation Center for a game at noon on Feb. 4.