The Central Michigan Chippewas headed to Athens to take on a previously unbeaten Ohio Bobcats team. The home crowd was hyped, as Ohio announced the day before the game that tickets would be free. The Bobcats were coming off a big win against Buffalo, and were ready to take on the best team in the conference.
It was a game of runs, as the Chippewas raced out to a huge lead, before the Bobcats would battle back. However, each time the Chippewas made a run, the Bobcat would counter, but their run would be a little smaller. By half, the Chippewas were up 18. A couple of times in the third and fourth quarters, the crowd was ready to erupt as the Bobcats try to get the deficit to 10, but Presley Hudson and the rest of the loaded Chippewas always had an answer.
Central Michigan won 88-70. They really sent a message that the road to the MAC Championship goes through Mount Pleasant.
Where the Central Michigan was most effective was on the glass. Reyna Frost finished the game with 22 points and 17 rebounds. The Bobcats only managed 22 boards to the Chippewas 51. I never really noticed the Bobcats problems rebounding, as CeCe Hooks and company do a great job of driving to the basket and breaking down defenses. That, along with the barrage of threes, tends to lead to a team rebounding situation, where the quick Bobcats get their share. In this game, both teams are such great shooters that their soft touch left a lot more rebounds around the basket, which Frost and the Chippewas cleaned up. This is something the Bobcats must fix if they are going to be contenders in such a talented league.
One thing the Bobcats did exceptionally well off the floor was the free ticket night. Originally I planned to head to Athens to cover the game. However, when I found out the tickets were free, I took my family as fans. The silly part is that I dropped more on the pregame dinner than tickets would normally be, so I am not sure why the free part was such an enticement. My wife and daughters, not huge sports fans, had a great time. My daughters spent much of the night holding up the Bobcats banners they received when we entered. My wife also cheered, but did have a few mix ups, like when the jumbotron said “make some noise!” with a Chippewas’ player at the line. She cheered after the bucket went in. You’re welcome, Reyna!
Overall, it was a great time and my wife and kids are already planning our next basketball game. I am not sure how often teams in the conference do these free ticket give-a-ways, but I did notice that a large part of the crowd was younger. There were plenty of young families as were there plenty of local high school gear. I really hope this is a trend that continues around the league.