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Bobcats Steer Past Pilots in Season Opener, 81-52

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OHIOBOBCATS.COM Reggie Keely had 13 points and five rebounds for the 'Cats in an easy win over Portland.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Reggie Keely had 13 points and five rebounds for the 'Cats in an easy win over Portland.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Nov. 10, 2012

ATHENS, Ohio - The enthusiasm of the large crowd during the Ohio Men's Basketball season opener was matched by the Bobcats' performance on the court Saturday, as Ohio dispatched the visiting Portland Pilots by a final score of 81-52. Prior to the game, Ohio Athletics unveiled a banner honoring the 2011-12 team's historic run to the Sweet 16.

The victory was the first in Head Coach Jim Christian's career at Ohio and sets the Bobcats off to a 1-0 start for the season. Portland dropped to 0-1 on the year following the loss.

D.J. Cooper and Nick Kellogg led the way for the Bobcats, each scoring 18 points. Each of these two student-athletes played very strong games, as Cooper added five rebounds, six assists, and three steals to his scoring output while Kellogg was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range. Reggie Keely and Ivo Baltic also scored in double figures, contributing 13 and 10 points, respectively.  

Portland was led in scoring by Ryan Nicholas' 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nicholas connected on 7-of-14 field goal attempts and also added two steals. Kevin Bailey was Portland's second leading scorer, adding nine points to the offensive effort.

Ohio shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58) in the win while limiting Portland to just 35 percent (17-of-49). The Bobcats took great advantage of Portland's 23 turnovers, scoring 35 points off these miscues. Ohio also held a 16-3 edge in fast-break points.

Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) got his senior season off to a fast start, hitting two early threes to give the `Cats a 6-5 advantage 2:20 into the contest. Portland battled back, however, and took a 12-6 advantage into the under-16 minute timeout. The Pilots were able to stretch this lead to eight points before Keely (University Heights, Ohio) ended the run by throwing down a one-handed dunk with 14:36 to play in the first half.

Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) hit his first bucket as a Bobcat at the 11:44 mark, connecting on a corner three to help Ohio reclaim the lead at 17-16. In his Bobcat debut, Wilkins ended the day with four points and two steals in 15 minutes of action.

Ohio and Portland ended the first half deadlocked at 33. The Pilots shot just over 45 percent (10-of-22) from the field while the Bobcats operated at a 41 percent clip, hitting 13-of-32 attempts. Cooper led all scorers with 15 points, a feat he accomplished on 6-of-11 shooting (3-of-5 from distance). Portland held a 21-14 edge on the glass through the first 20 minutes of play and made its way to the free throw line for 13 shots compared to Ohio's three.

The Bobcats took the lead for good just 33 seconds into the second half on an Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) fast break dunk. The Green and White continued this surge well into the second frame, ripping off a 21-6 run throughout the first 7:07 of the stanza.

Ohio kept up its fast pace throughout the remainder of the second half, doing an effective job of getting to the free-throw line. During the final 20 minutes of the game, the Bobcats connected on 14 of 17 free throws to shoot just over 82 percent.

Ohio will next be in action on Friday, Nov. 16 against UNC-Wilmington. The Bobcats and Seahawks will tip off from The Convocation Center at 7 p.m.