ATHENS, Ohio -Ohio Men's Basketball got back to its winning ways on Saturday afternoon, earning a 78-61 win over the visiting Oakland Grizzlies. The win was Ohio's 15th consecutive home victory and improves the team to 7-2 on the season.
Senior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) recorded his 18th career double-double in Ohio's victory, scoring 10 points and dishing out 13 assists. Cooper's assist total fell just two shy of his career high, which was set at Akron on Jan. 12, 2011. Joining Cooper in double figures were Walter Offutt (14 points), Nick Kellogg (12 points), and Reggie Keely (10). Keely (University Heights, Ohio) pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Travis Bader had a very strong outing for the visitors, scoring a game-high 29 points on 8-of-18 shooting. He was especially dangerous from three-point distance, hitting 7-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc.
Ohio shot an efficient 50.8 percent from the field in the win, connecting on 31 of its 61 field-goal attempts. Oakland (3-7) operated at a 40.4 percent clip, hitting 21 of its 52 shots from the field. The Bobcats won all of the `specialty stat' categories during Saturday's contest, most notably the battle of points in the paint. Ohio outscored Oakland in the paint by a dominating 40-20 margin.
Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) got off to a fast start for the Bobcats, slashing through the lane for two early layups in the opening minutes of the contest. Oakland was able to force Ohio into a few mistakes in the early going, generating five Bobcat turnovers in the first five minutes of the game en route to running out to an early 10-4 lead.
The Bobcats erased this early deficit and took the lead courtesy of an 8-0 run which began at the 14:04 mark of the first half and took just 59 seconds. D.J. Cooper had a hand in every one of these eight points, hitting a three and a layup while assisting on Nick Kellogg's corner three-pointer.
The teams battled through a back-and-forth first half which featured four ties and six lead changes, ultimately ending with Ohio on top by a score of 39-29. The Bobcats ended the first frame shooting 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from the field, a figure which included a 4-of-13 (37.5 percent) mark from three-point distance. Ohio held a narrow edge in rebounding (17-16) and closed the first half on a 15-6 run over the final 3:33.
Oakland's Travis Bader led all scorers in the first half with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field. For Ohio, Offutt led the way offensively, scoring 12 points. Kellogg and Cooper were not far behind this mark, adding nine and eight, respectively. Cooper showed great court vision in the first half, dishing out five assists to accompany his eight points.
Oakland started the second half in a brisk manner, connecting on three three-pointers in the first 3:22. The Grizzlies would begin the frame on a 15-7 run, trimming their deficit to two (46-44) at the 15:40 mark when Raphael Carter threw down an emphatic dunk. Oakland would get as close as one (48-47) when Bader drained a three-pointer following a layup by Cooper.
The Grizzlies proceeded to take their first lead since the 6:39 mark of the first half when Ryan Bass and Carter combined for back-to-back alley-oop dunks beginning with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
The Bobcats regained control shortly thereafter, tying the game at 53 when Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) hit a three-pointer with 11:07 to play. This spurred a 24-2 run which lasted 8:13 and put the `Cats ahead by 19 points, 74-55. During this stretch, Ohio held Oakland without a field goal for 10:48.
Ohio will next be in action on Saturday, Dec. 15 against Winthrop. The Bobcats and Eagles will tip off from The Convocation Center beginning at 2 p.m.