Another game, another recap, another Ohio loss. It is only the second week of MAC play for the Bobcats, but already they have practically exhausted my Thesaurus' synonyms for the word "bad". Ohio head coach Saul Phillips has used plenty of these words himself, in recent press conferences and probably in the post-game locker room. Tonight, he is bound to repeat them all again after an especially pungent 69-59 loss at the hands of the Kent State Golden Flashes where the Bobcats failed to build on the positive developments in the Toledo game.
For the Bobcats, this was their second straight "must-win" game as they looked to avoid an 0-4 start. But as desperate as they were to end their MAC losing streak, the Golden Flashes were no less hungry for a win going into tonight's game. Their 11-5 overall record was good for third in the MAC East, but at 2-1 they were tied with a whopping SEVEN other teams for first in the MAC. With Buffalo and Bowling Green each picking up a win earlier today, the Flashes needed a victory to keep pace.
Kent State was certainly the hungrier team coming out of the gate. The Flashes quickly jumped to a 7-0 lead, thanks to a couple of buckets from Jimmy Hall and a three-pointer from Devareaux Manley. It looked as though Kent State was going to cruise to an easy victory, but the Bobcats showed some fight and rallied back into the game. Treg Setty hit a 3-pointer six minutes (!) into the game for Ohio's first points. Three minutes later, Maurice Ndour threw down a dunk to give the Bobcats a 10-9 lead with 11 minutes in the first half. After the Flashes responded with a 3-pointer, the Bobcats hit one of their own to retake the lead. It was inspiring play from Phillips' squad.
Unfortunately for Ohio, it wouldn't last. A minute later, Kent State's Kris Brewer sank a 3-pointer, and the Bobcats relinquished a lead they would never recover.
By halftime, KSU's lead had ballooned to 30-19. In the second half, Ohio fought just to keep pace with the Flashes, and failed to cut the Kent State lead to single digits, never drawing closer than ten. The final score certainly could have been worse, as the Bobcats were losing by as much as 20, although I doubt this will console Phillips any.
For the Bobcats, Ndour once again led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds, his eleventh career double-double and his seventh this year. His only other teammate with points in double digits was Stevie Taylor, who continued his run of improved play by scoring 10 points, although he did turn the ball over four times.
Ohio actually out-rebounded the Flashes, but turned the ball over 14 times, twice as much as Kent State did. It also did not help the team's comeback attempt that the 'Cats shot an ugly 34 percent from the field.
The Flashes were led by Derek Jackson, who finished with 18 points. Kent State did an excellent job spreading the ball around, with four players in double digits for points - including Kris Brewer, who had 14 off the bench.
|Points||D. Jackson (18)||M. Ndour (19)|
|Rebounds||K. Spicer (8)||M. Ndour (12)|
|Assists||K. Brewer (5)||J. Willis (3)|
|Blocks||K. Spicer (4)||M. Ndour (2)|
|Steals||J. Hall (2)||Six players (1)|