Jan. 26, 2006
BUFFALO, N.Y. -
Cold shooting and turnovers plagued the Ohio men's basketball team as the Bobcats lost to Buffalo Thursday night for only the second time since the Bulls joined the Mid-American Conference in 1998.
In the 70-51 defeat at Alumni Arena, Ohio (12-4, 6-2 MAC) recorded its lowest scoring output of the season as the team shot 38.5 percent (20-of-52) from the field and 17.2 percent (5-of-29) from behind the arc. Sophomore forward Leon Williams (Baltimore) entered the game averaging 11.9 points per game but took no shots at all Thursday in the first scoreless performance of his collegiate career.
"We really struggled tonight in a lot of areas," said Bobcat head coach Tim O'Shea. "Any game in which Leon goes scoreless is going to be a tough night for us. Hopefully this can be something we grow from and we learn from."
Mychal Green (Columbus, Ohio) and Jeremy Fears (Joliet, Ill.) led Ohio with 13 points apiece while Whitney Davis (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Jerome Tillman (Beavercreek, Ohio) each chipped in eight off the bench.
Junior center Yassin Idbihi, who scored Buffalo's first seven points, led the Bulls with 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. From the outside, guards Roderick Middleton and Calvin Cage added 19 and 12 points, respectively.
Buffalo (15-4, 5-3 MAC) led by as many as 16 points in the first half and took a 32-21 advantage into the locker room. The 11-point deficit was Ohio's largest at the break this season and marked just the fourth time the Bobcats trailed at halftime this year.
After shooting 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field in the first half, the Bulls got even hotter with a 76.5 mark (13-of-17) in the second stanza. The lead went up to 20 at 48-28 on a three-pointer by Cage with 12:54 to play.
With the gap still at 18 at the six-minute mark, a Fears three-pointer and two consecutive buckets by Tillman knocked it down to 56-45 with 4:39 remaining but that was as close as Ohio would get.
Coupled with Bowling Green's 79-74 defeat of Kent State, the Bobcat loss still kept them only a game out of first place in the MAC East Division. The Golden Flashes (13-6, 7-1 MAC) are tied atop the standings with Akron (14-4, 7-1 MAC), who registered a 52-45 home win over Miami on Thursday.
"Sunday is really critical because it's a home game against a team that is right behind us in the standings," O'Shea said about Sunday's contest against Miami (9-7, 6-3 MAC). "We've got to be ready to play. We didn't meet the challenge tonight but the important thing is how we respond to it on Sunday."
Fox Sports Net Ohio will televise Sunday's game between the Bobcats and RedHawks at noon in the Convocation Center. A special pregame ceremony will honor the 2005 Ohio volleyball squad that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. For ticket information, please contact the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS or purchase your tickets online by clicking here.