Ohio didn't have an answer for Jaylen Adams and the rest the Bonnies as the Bobcats fell to St. Bonaventure 80-70 Saturday afternoon in Athens. The loss dropped Ohio to 2-3 on the year.
Ohio is the first team this year to shoot above 40% against St. Bonnie. The Bobcats shot well during the first half and led 37-36 at halftime, but ran into foul trouble in the second half that allowed the Bonnies to pull away.
"I thought we moved the ball beautifully in the first half, played borderline aesthetically beautiful basketball, effective basketball, efficient basketball," said Ohio head coach Saul Phillips. "And then in the second half, the ball got sticky and we didn't take very good shots."
While the Bobcats were fighting for baskets at one end, they had trouble finding an answer for the two SBU guards at the other. Junior Marcus Posley finished with 20 points, while freshman Jaylen Adams finished with 26. The Bobcats struggled to stay in front of the pair, and by sending additional men to help with coverage once Posley or Adams penetrated the paint they freed up SBU's big men. The Bonnies were able to consistently get quality shots. Adams in particular was impressive, darting around Ohio's men and making no look passes that impressed even the Bobcat faithful. He seems sure to terrorize opposing defenses for years to come.
It didn't help Ohio that they continued to foul St. Bonaventure, especially in the second half. In that 20-minute span, the Bonnies were 16 of 18 from the charity stripe. Adams alone picked up 9 points from the foul line in that time.
The Bobcats, meanwhile, struggled throughout the game to get points in the paint. SBU played a strong man-to-man defense that had drop-down help should Ohio get in the lane. Guards Stevie Taylor and Javarez Willis struggled to break through, and thus Ohio had to rely on jump shots to stay in the game. In the first half the Bobcats shot 43.3% from the field, while the Bonnies hit 46.7% of their shots. Ohio was able to make up the minor difference elsewhere, but in the second half SBU shot 46% overall and from beyond the arch while holding Ohio to 38.7%.
"They had help. And then they had big guys in the paint that really made it difficult," said Willis.
One of the few Bobcats to get points near the basket was sophomore Antonio Campbell, who picked up his first career double double by finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Despite spending most of the game matched up with 7-foot senior Youssou Ndoye, Campbell was not intimidated to go hard to the hoop and held Ndoye to 8 points.
Willis, to his credit, did add 16 points himself, 12 of which came from 3-pointers. Senior Maurice Ndour also finished with 16 points, relying on his height to sink jump shots from above his defender. And freshman Ryan Taylor, a major contributor to the team so far, also added 11 points.
"I know there's a good team in that group. I've seen it for chunks at a time," said Phillips in his post-game press conference. "We haven't put it all together yet, but it's really important that as a group, you keep things in perspective, that you rally together, and understand that the three teams that we lost to are all good teams.
"That doesn't make me feel any better tonight... but put it this way: our goals and aspirations didn't go down in flames tonight."