[Ayden Crowley | WOUB]

Ohio advances in the MAC Tournament with a 82-55 win over Western Michigan

Posted on:

< < Back to

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOUB) – No. 3 Ohio dominated in its 82-55 wire-to-wire victory over No. 6 Western Michigan in the opening round of the MAC Tournament. 

The Bobcats went into the game winners of six straight. As for the Broncos, it won four out of its last six conference games to end the regular season, including an upset win over Akron in its final game. 

Miles Brown goes for the basket in the opening round of the MAC Tournament
Miles Brown goes for the basket in the opening round of the MAC Tournament [Conor Mallonn | WOUB]
Both teams got off to slow starts, but Ohio’s defense set the tone early and held Western Michigan scoreless through the first six minutes of the game.

Graduate student guard Shereef Mitchell said it was important for Ohio to get off to a strong start defensively.

“We wanted to set the tone from the beginning and I think we did a great job of that,” Mitchell said. “Just trying to be physical, trying to make the team uncomfortable, I thought we did a great job of that. I feel like when our defense is on, I feel like we are a very tough team to beat.”

The Bobcats defense held Western Michigan to just 24% from the field in the first half. 

The defense did the heavy lifting for Ohio as its offense was sluggish in the first 10 minutes. Ike Cornish made Ohio’s first 3-pointer of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. It went 2/13 from beyond the arc in the first. 

Despite the slow start on offense, the Bobcats went into the locker room with a 35-22 lead.  

Out of the break, Ohio’s offense broke loose. It began to hit shots which allowed it to pull away from Western Michigan. 

“Just trusting the work, trusting the process, not getting too involved with the misses and just keep playing Ohio basketball and we did that,” Mitchell said. 

Aidan Hadaway dunks the ball against Western Michigan
Aidan Hadaway dunks the ball against Western Michigan [Conor Mallonn | WOUB]
Mitchell had a game-high 15 points as well as six steals for Ohio.

Ohio ended with 24 fast break points in the victory. Head coach Jeff Boals said getting out in transition was a key for the Bobcats.

“Getting the stops, getting the run outs, hitting those three’s late in the second half was big so anytime you can convert like that, that’s big,” Boals said.

With the 82-55 win, Ohio advances to play No. 2 Akron in the MAC Tournament Semifinals on March 15. 

“It’s going to be an every possession type of mentality, and they’re really good,” Boals said. “(Enrique) Freeman is the player of the year for a reason. We got to do a great job, deflections, post defense again and then the way they guard they are very good defensively, we got to do a good job on the offensive end executing.”