Moral victories are not enough for the Ohio Bobcats. Coach Saul Phillips made that abundantly clear after the 'Cats most recent loss to Toledo on Wednesday.
"People talk about moral victories — I've got no idea what that means. I've got no idea. I don't want to hear any talk of that."
He later preached optimism, but the same tired trope continues for this Ohio basketball team, who is now wallowing at the bottom of the MAC, surprisingly with Eastern Michigan.
Kent State on the other hand, is coming off a 65-59 victory over the Eagles. Coach Bob Senderoff and his Flashes are excited. Oddly enough, in a flabbergasting development, the Golden Flashes are tied for the conference lead at 2-1 with SEVEN other teams. Like...what is that all about?
The Flashes hounded the Eagles defensively in the second half (24 percent shooting) as EMU shot 38.9 percent for the game. The Flashes held Karrrington Ward and Raven Lee to 7-26 from the floor overall. The Bobcats will have to fend off the second-half vice grip that KSU put on the Eagles that resulted in a 16-point second half advantage for Kent.
Junior forward Chris Ortiz played like an Eagle was scratching at his head, while in reality, there were five at any time. Ortiz put up 19 points in 28 minutes of play as his playing time ha steadily increased in MAC play. Kent will need Kris Brewer and Devereaux Manley back on top of their games after combining for only eight points against Eastern.
Stevie Taylor looked better in the Toledo game, scoring nine points on six shots. His resurgence, and the possibility of playing big minutes again could infuse Ohio with a bit more energy. Javarez Willis took 16 shots to score 18 points last time out, and Maurice Ndour scored 16, but wasn't near enough of an imposing figure to lead Ohio to victory. The Bobcats need him to counter the presence of Jimmy Hall on Saturday.
Additionally, someone on the Ohio coaching staff needs to tell someone other than Ndour to get to the free throw line, where the 'Cats are still dead last on the season overall in made free throws.
Even with Ohio at 5-9 and Kent at 11-5, this has the makings of a better game than records might typically indicate. So let us see what other crazy stuff will go down in the second weekend of MAC play.