Ohio men’s basketball head coach Saul Phillips upset after a technical foul call during Ohio’s game against the Kent State Golden Flashes on Jan. 15th, 2019. | Ben Wielgopolski WOUB |

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Shooting woes continue for Ohio in loss to Kent State

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ATHENS, Ohio — A familiar demon came back to haunt the Ohio men’s basketball team Tuesday night, as the green and white could not get their jump shots to fall in a 66-52 loss to Kent State.

For the Bobcats, it was just their second defeat inside the Convocation Center this year. With the loss, the Bobcats drop to 9-7 overall and just 1-3 in MAC play.

Right from the get-go, it seemed as though there was a lid on the rim for Saul Phillips’ squad. The Bobcats entered the contest shooting just 20 percent from three-point range as a team and were unable to improve upon that mark. They shot just 4-of-20 from deep, 32 percent from the field  and 50 percent from the charity stripe.

Individually, sophomore Teyvion Kirk saw the worst of the shooting struggles for Ohio. The Bobcats’ second leading scorer connected on just four of his 22 attempts from the field, finishing with 11 points.

Redshirt sophomore Jason Carter had an uncharacteristic night as well, as he tied with Kirk for the team lead with 11 points. The 6-foot-8 forward could not match his team leading 17.3 points-per-game output, as he was met with several double teams throughout the contest and was never fully able to adjust.

After such a dominant team outing this past Saturday on the road against Ball State, senior forward and team leader Gavin Block was nothing short of frustrated with the way the Bobcats performed in front of the Bobcat faithful.

“It was unacceptable the way we played tonight,” Block said. “Saturday showed us how good we could be, so it’s obviously frustrating to come out and play as flat as we did tonight.”

As one could imagine, head coach Saul Phillips was by no means jubilant about his team’s performance either.

It was a frustrating night for the Ohio offense in front of the home crowd Tuesday night. | Ben Wielgopolski WOUB |

“I’m mostly disappointed in the lack of ball movement and how incredibly tentative we were throughout this game, ”Phillips said. “Our inability to convert opportunities in transition with numbers, along with not being able to convert open shots really hurt as well.”

Perhaps what Phillips was most upset with, however, was the injury to freshman point guard Jason Preston. Shortly into the second half, the first-year floor general took a hard hit to the head and did not return. This left the Bobcats even more shorthanded than they already were in the backcourt; that lead to Phillips being forced to stick with Kirk at the lead guard spot for the remainder of the contest.

“When Jason [Preston] went down, we lost an important ball handler and an important, crucial piece to our offense,” Phillips said. “(Kirk) has got to do a better job of getting others involved and making his teammates better.”

For the Golden Flashes, Mid-American Conference points-per-game leader Jaylin Walker continued his torrid pace scoring wise. Despite a rough patch of shooting in the second half, the senior guard still finished with a game-high 21 points on 6-of-15 from the field, 3-of-6 from deep and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. It was the 11th time this season Walker hit at least three three-pointers in a game. The only contest Walker failed to achieve this feat came back on December 31st against Oberlin.

With their victory, Kent State evened their MAC slate at 2-2, and continued to showcase their ability to win big games on the road. Rob Senderoff’s squad is now 13-4 overall, including a 5-2 record away from Kent. They’ve shown they can win away from home numerous times this season with big wins over Vanderbilt, Oregon State, and Ohio in front of a buzzing Convocation Center crowd.

For the Bobcats, they will hit the road for their next matchup as they will travel to Toledo this Friday, January 18th.