Calvin Mattheis | Ohio Athletics

Bobcats Leave Mount Pleasant With Nothing Pleasant

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While people all over the world are looking to change for the better during the New Year, the Ohio Bobcats (7-6) 75-50 loss to the Central Michigan Chippewa’s (12-2) extended a few lackluster streaks the Bobcats hoped to leave in 2017.

Not only does this 25-point loss mark the Bobcats fifth consecutive loss to the Chippewas, it also extends Ohio’s road-losing streak to three games. Turnovers and early foul trouble plagued the Bobcats as Central Michigan remains undefeated at McGuirk Arena.

In the first game of conference play, the Chippewas beat the Bobcats in just about every aspect of the game. Central Michigan out rebounded Ohio 44-35 made 20 percent more shots from behind the arc and hit more than 40 percent more of their free throws than Ohio.

The Bobcat back court was one of the few bright spots as senior guard Mike Laster led Ohio in scoring with 19 points while freshman guard Teyvion Kirk led the team with seven rebounds while finishing with 13 points. The remaining Ohio starters (Gavin Block, Jordan Dartis and Doug Taylor) combined for nine points, the same amount as the Bobcat bench.

Laster provided a spark early for the Ohio offense as he scored eight of the first ten Bobcat points. After being tied at 12 during the first media timeout, Central Michigan quickly took advantage of Bobcat turnovers and jumped to a 22-14 lead midway through the first quarter. Despite committing 11 turnovers in the first half, the Bobcats trailed by just two scores as they went into halftime down 37-31.

Things quickly got out of hand after the break as the Chippewa’s opened the second half with 15 unanswered points, giving them a 52-31 lead. Mike Laster, who picked up his third foul during the opening minute of the second half, sat on the bench for a majority of the Central Michigan run.

With 14 minutes left in regulation, Laster grabbed a rebound from a missed three from Block and put it back up for the Bobcats first points of the second half but at this point the game was out of reach. While the Bobcats would continue fighting, the deficit would never be lower than 20 points throughout the remainder of the game.

Yet again, the Bobcats lack of depth caused issues as head coach Saul Phillips only used three subs in the blowout loss. Freshman forward A.J. Garari made his collegiate debut. In his first game, Garari played 11 minutes for Ohio but missed each of his three field goals and finished with two points off free throws. At the end of the first half, the Ohio bench had failed to connect on any of the five shots they attempted. Garari’s two free throws were the only points they scored in the opening half.

The Bobcats look to pickup their first conference win Saturday afternoon when they host the Northern Illinois Huskies. Central Michigan will travel to Kent State to take on the Golden Flashes Saturday night.