Ohio was in control from the opening minutes of its 99-78 victory over DePaul. It was towards the end of the first half that Ohio came alive, going on a 15-2 run over the last six minutes of the half to build up a 44-30 lead. The beat went on in the second half, with Ohio refusing to coast, instead playing 20 more hard minutes of ball.
Before the game, Coach Saul Phillips went as far as to call Tuesday's game a must-win with the ESPN crew calling the game (considering the poor performances that the Bobcats have put forth in recent weeks). A 77-49 loss to George Washington on Monday capped a string of four losses in the team's last five games that had the 'Cats in the dumps. Tuesday's performance was just what the doctor ordered.
Tuesday's showing was the best offensive game that this Ohio writer has ever seen the Bobcats put on.
Javarez Willis finished with 31 points on 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Willis also found ways to get his teammates involved in the second half, and finished with six assists. Willis has firmly cemented himself as Ohio's go-to scorer. Well, if we can count Ndour and Willis as the combined "go-to's."
From the get-go Coach Oliver Purnell's DePaul squad tried to employ a full-court press against Ohio, and successfully managed to jumpstart an Ohio team that had struggled offensively just the day before. Going up 9-2 early against the Blue Demons seemed to spark the 'Cats into their best offensive game of the season (by far). It wasn't until Ohio held a 17-12 lead that Purnell seemed to realize that his Demons weren't going to stop Ohio in transition, as Ohio consistently broke the press and set up quick baskets in its half-court offense. Regardless, the defensive change didn't matter, as Ohio continued to run all over DePaul.
The Blue Demons never seemed engaged in their half-court defense, but did manage to keep up with Ohio for a while offensively and narrowed the deficit to two points before the aforementioned 15-2 run that sprung Ohio to an easy victory.
Two alley-oop passes from the ever-hustling (please somebody, give him an honorary belt from us),Treg Setty, which resulted in emphatic slams for Maurce Ndour, who finished with 15 points, 10 boards and four assists.
There weren't a lot of minutes to be had for sophomore Wadly Mompremier due to the excellent play of Antonio Campbell and Setty. Campbell finished with his third double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Setty put up a career game with 17 points on 7-9 shooting and grabbed nine boards. The two were one of five 'Cats who finished in double figures. The other, not-yet-mentioned, was freshman Ryan Taylor who continues to impress and finished with 17 points.
On the day, Ohio shot 59.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from deep. The 'Cats out-rebounded the Demons 38-29, and scored 20 more points in the paint (44-24).
Notably, Ohio played through to the end, and refused to coast late. Taylor was all over the floor scrounging for loose balls, Setty threw his weight around, and the Ohio starters did not take the foot off the peddle in what was the type of performance to surely lift the squad up for weeks to come.