Ohio forward Doug Taylor dunks as the Xavier Musketeers watch on Wednesday Dec. 5th, 2018. | Ben Wielgopolski |

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Xavier surges past Ohio in second half

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Nothing could describe Ohio vs. Xavier better than a nail biter. From the beginning the Musketeers were met with a ferocious Ohio team.

The Bobcats shots fell as they went 50 percent from the field in first half with the help of Jason Carter. Ben Vander Plas and Antonio Cowart Jr. helped lead Ohio through the first half dropping threes. But the Bobcats went cold as Musketeer Paul Scruggs took over scoring 21 points.

Despite the close game throughout, the Ohio men’s basketball team (5-3) fell apart with roughly five minutes left in the second half ultimately leading them to their 61-82 loss to the Xavier Musketeers (6-3) Wednesday night.

In the first half, Ohio came through with a fast, aggressive tempo. Carter and Teyvion Kirk lead the team in scoring. The Bobcats had ten steals in the game, seven coming from the intense first half. Vander Plas had four steals, three coming from the first half, which helped set Ohio up for more looks and baskets.

Ohio went on two separate 8-0 runs in the first half. The Bobcats were hot all half when they didn’t have to face the loud and fanatic Xavier student section. The 8-0 runs almost had the Bobcats take the first half as their own.

Ben Vander Plas and Ohio lost control of the game late in the second half. | Ben Wielgopolski WOUB |

But Scruggs was the factor towards the end. He started his path to 21 points as he competed with tenacity. Scruggs helped give Xavier a slim 35-34 halftime lead.

Xavier came out hungry in the second half ready to take their court back after getting pushed around the first half.

“They made great adjustments, they had great outside activity,” Senior forward Doug Taylor said.

Those adjustments let the Musketeers outscore Ohio by 20 points, most of them coming from a 17-1 run towards the end of the game.

The biggest issue in the second half was the lack of awareness.

“Too many turnovers, we were right in the game and we had three consecutive turnovers right in the zone,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said.

Ohio had their shots falling early on in the second half. But the student section combined with the new Xavier defense shut them down the majority of the half. The Bobcats went cold as shot after shot would not fall for them.

Defensively is where Ohio fell apart in the second half after they allowed nine turnovers to let Xavier take charge and make it their game.

“Turnovers and bad shots, that’s pretty much a formula for disaster for any team,” Phillips said.

The Bobcats are undefeated at home and can continue that record very soon. They play Radford on Saturday, Dec. 8th  at the Convocation Center at 3:30 p.m.