Antonio Cowart Jr. drives for the basket on February 2, 2019 during a match between Ohio University and Akron. OU lost 53-65.

Ohio Men’s Basketball: ‘Cats Offensive Struggles Continue In Miami

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The week off couldn’t have come at a better time for Ohio. Two straight losses where the offense struggled to find points left the Bobcats searching for answers.

That is why the focus of this past week for the Bobcats was to try to patch up their ailing offense for the stretch run of the regular season.

However, after Ohio’s performance in Oxford on Saturday afternoon, it’s clear that there is still work to be done if they want to enter the MAC Tournament, which starts in just over a month, on a high note.

The Bobcats (11-11, 3-7 MAC) never were able to consistently find good offense, shooting just 35 percent from the field and fell to Miami (13-11, 5-6 MAC) 79-59 in the first leg of this season’s Battle of the Bricks.

The loss is the Bobcats’ third in a row and drops them to last place in the MAC East.

Ohio came out of the gates slow and found themselves down by double digits early in the first half, trailing the RedHawks 21-10 with just under 12 minutes to play in the half.

The rest of the first half wasn’t any better for the Bobcats. Ohio was never able to cut the deficit any closer than 11 and eventually went into the locker room down by 20, 47-27.

The script was flipped early on in the second half.

The Bobcats came out of the locker room and played with a fire on the offensive end that hadn’t been seen since their win over Western Michigan on January 22.

With just over 13 minutes to play in the game, Ohio had used a 20-6 run to cut the RedHawk lead to 6, 53-47. But, out of the ensuing timeout, the Bobcats were never able to find that offense again.

The RedHawks closed the game on a 26-12 run while the Bobcats made just four of their final 24 shot attempts.

Miami made just seven field goals in the second half, but four of them came as part of a 9-0 run that put the RedHawks back on top by 15 following the Bobcat run that made it a six-point game.

Saturday’s loss to Miami is the third game in a row and the fifth game in conference play that the Bobcats failed to shoot better than 37 percent from the field. Ohio has lost all five of those games.

Teyvion Kirk led the way for the Bobcats, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds. Kirk also tallied five steals. Jason Carter threw in 16 points of his own, the forward’s fifth straight game in double figures.

The Bobcats come back home to the Convo for their next game, a matchup against the Eagles of Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday.