ATHENS, Ohio- The Ohio University men's basketball team (16-4; 4-2 MAC) defeated Western Michigan University 56-51 Wednesday night in the Convocation Center improving its record to 11-1 at home.
Junior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) scored a game-high 18 points and pulled down five rebounds. Sophomore guard Ricardo Johnson (Covington, Ky.) added nine points and a season-high seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) led the Bobcats in rebounding as he grabbed eight boards.
Austin Richie led Western Michigan as he came off the bench to score 16 points. Other significant contributors for the Broncos included Mike Douglas who scored 12 points and Shayne Whittington who added nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Ohio shot 35.3 percent from the field compared to the Broncos 30.2 percent effort. The Bobcats also shot 77.8 percent from the foul shot line. Defensively, Ohio forced Western Michigan into 17 turnovers.
The Bobcats came out firing from the opening tip, hitting four of its first six shots, including 3-pointers from Cooper and sophomore guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio), on the way to an early 10-1 lead. The Bobcats were just as sharp on defense during the run, forcing Western Michigan into committing five turnovers and holding them without a field goal until the 15:02 mark.
Ohio continued to control the game gaining its largest lead of the day, a 15-point, 29-14 lead with 5:39 to play in the first half. Western Michigan wouldn't go away however, going on a 16-1 run to make it a 30-30 game as the teams entered the locker rooms for halftime.
Cooper led Ohio at half, scoring 10 points and pulling in three rebounds. Junior forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) added six points and Johnson led the team in rebounding, pulling in five boards.
Richie led the Broncos scoring 11 points and Whittington added seven points and four boards. Western Michigan held the rebounding edge at half pulling in three more boards than the Bobcats (30-27).
The teams traded baskets to start the second half with the Broncos taking a two point, 40-38 lead with 12:33 to play. Ohio answered going on a 14-6 run to retake the lead 52-46 with 5:55 remaining in the game. The Broncos failed to close the gap as Ohio went on to secure the victory.
Cooper led the Bobcats in the second half scoring eight points and adding three assists and three steals. Johnson and junior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) each added five points for the Bobcats. Ohio shot 40.9 percent from the field and 30 percent from 3-point range in the second half.
Douglas led the Broncos in the second half scoring seven points. Richie added five of his team-high 16 points for a Western Michigan team that outrebounded Ohio 38-27.
The Bobcats return to action Saturday afternoon in the Convo as they face the MAC West Division leading Ball State Cardinals. The game is scheduled to begin at 11 am and will be televised on ESPNU.