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Ohio Men's Basketball
Jeff Boals and the Bobcats dropped to 0-2 in MAC play on Wednesday as Ohio fell to Bowling Green at The Convo.

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Turnovers prove costly as Ohio falls to rival Marshall, 81-67

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The Ohio Bobcats took a quick trip down to Huntington, W.Va. to take on one of their non-conference rivals, the Marshall Thundering Herd. The Bobcats (4-2) hot start to the season, in which they won their first four games by double digits and nearly upset the number five team in the nation, was snuffed out when they fell to Marshall (4-0), 81-67, Sunday afternoon at the Cam Henderson Center.

“Give them (Marshall) a lot of credit.  They deserved to win the game,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said.  “It’s tough to prepare for what they do defensively. Jarrod West is probably one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the country, and he made us work for everything and denied us passing lanes.”

The problem that the Bobcats had for much of the afternoon was that they could never click simultaneously at both ends of the floor. Whenever their defense was making stops, their offense couldn’t capitalize and vice-versa. Marshall was able to capitalize on both ends and that’s what was able to give them the victory.

Another category the Bobcats struggled in was turnovers and points off turnovers. The Bobcats had 17 turnovers on the afternoon, ten of those coming in the second half. The Thundering Herd outscored Ohio 20-6 in points off turnovers and that was the exact margin they lost by in this game as well.

“I thought the biggest thing was the turnovers, we had a lot of unforced turnovers that lead to points for them,” Boals said.  “(Marshall) thrives off of turnovers and are good in transition so not having a lot of live ball turnovers was one of our keys to the game and we weren’t able to do that.”

In the first half, the Bobcats were trailing the entire way. They were playing out of synch compared to what they had been through the first five games. With 3:23 left in the first half, they were down 31-19 when head coach Jeff Boals called a timeout. After the timeout, Ohio had new life. Ben Vander Plas hit a three-pointer and then Jason Preston knocked one down from the logo. The Bobcats would go on a 14-4 run for the final three and a half minutes and go into the break down 35-33. The Bobcats shot 42.3 percent from the field in the first half but were four for eight from the three-point land.

The Bobcats were not able to keep the momentum going in the second half was as they struggled shooting the ball. They were just 3/12 from behind the three-point line for the entire half and really struggled to hit shots continuously. At one point, Ohio went over five minutes without a field goal and turned the ball over a lot during those possessions, and that was coming at a time where they were playing good defensively.

“At one time we had five or six stops in a row, and I think we turned the ball over five out of seven possessions. Against a good team, you can’t do that and not even get a shot off,” Boals pointed out.

The Thundering Herd were near perfect shooting in the second half. They shot 16/21, good for 76 percent. Were four-of-seven from beyond the arc and were 10/13 from the free throw line. Leading the charge for Marshall was Taevion Kinsey. The junior from Columbus, Ohio scored 28 points, shot 77 percent from the field and was seven-of-eight from the line. Kinsey also passed 1,000 career points during the game as well. Right behind him was Jarrod West, who finished with 14 and Mikel Beyers who had 13.

One of the bright spots for the Bobcats on the afternoon was Dwight Wilson III. The transfer from James Madison continues to grow into his position with the team quite nicely as he recorded his third straight double-double. He finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Preston was second in scoring with 19 points and knocked down 4 three-pointers while playing all 40 minutes.

Ohio Men's Basketball Dwight Wilson II
Ohio’s Dwight Wilson III, a senior transfer from James Madison, continues to be a significant impact as he had another double-double against Marshall on Sunday, Dec. 13.

The Bobcats were playing their second game in four days and their previous game was thrown together the day prior so it may have changed their preparations for Marshall just a bit. However, in today’s world of the pandemic, the unexpected is to be expected. The Bobcats were outplayed, but Coach Boals said this game is something they can learn for going forward as they get ready for MAC play to begin when they travel to take on Akron on Dec. 22.

“It’s a learning process, it’s a growth process and we got to continue to get better in practice, from game-to-game and learn from this.”