Jan. 28, 2014
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ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (14-5, 4-2) looks to improve to 4-0 against MAC West opponents this season when the Bobcats host Central Michigan (7-11, 0-6) on Wednesday.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center. Wednesday’s game will be broadcast live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with “Voice of the Bobcats” Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call. A live video and audio stream of the broadcast is available on OhioBobcats.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. The Ohio IMG Sports Network includes 16 affiliates in southeast Ohio and West Virginia.
Ohio has won nine-straight games against MAC West opponents and is 3-0 this season. Ohio swept the division (6-0) in 2012-13 for the first time since divisional play began in 1997-98. The ‘Cats are 37-14 (.725) against the West Division in regular season contests since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.
Last time out, Ohio put together one of the best second half comebacks in program history, rallying from a 13-point deficit with 7:45 to play to win at Eastern Michigan (58-56) on Saturday in Ypsilanti.
The Bobcats trailed for 39:33 of a possible 40 minutes in the game. The game-winning 3-pointer by junior guard Javarez “Bean Willis” (Homer, La.) with 27 seconds to play capped a 20-5 run by Ohio to end the game.
Willis tied his season high with 12 points and made a season-high four 3-pointers in the game. Fellow point guard - junior Stevie Taylor - added 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
The win by Ohio was its first in Ypsilanti since the 2005-06 season. The ‘Cats have now won five-straight road games overall. It’s the first time Ohio has captured five-consecutive road victories since a stretch from Nov.-Dec. 2011 during the Sweet 16 season.
NATIONALLY-RANKED DEFENSE LEADS BOBCATS
Ohio is ranked 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.378), 31st in scoring defense (62.7) and 38th in the country in 3-point percentage defense (.303). The ‘Cats are 13-1 when holding their opponent to 70 points or less this season and 12-1 when they limit their opponent to less than 40 percent shooting.
A LOOK AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (7-11, 0-6)
The Chippewas were picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the MAC West Division in the league’s preseason poll. Central Michigan posted a 7-5 mark in non-conference play but has dropped its first six MAC contests. Last time out, the Chippewas fell at Akron, 82-74 on Saturday.
Central Michigan is one of the best offensive teams in the Mid-American Conference while ranking second in the league in scoring offense (74.7) and third in field goal percentage (.447). However, the Chippewas are 11th in the MAC in scoring defense (72.0) and last in field goal percentage defense (.479). CMU is led offensively by sophomore guard Chris Fowler, who ranks third in the league with 17.3 ppg and is third in the MAC in assists (5.2/game). Sophomore forward John Simons is the team’s leading rebounder (6.1 rpg).
HISTORY vs. CENTRAL MICHIGAN
The Bobcats and Chippewas will meet for the 70th time Wednesday. The Bobcats hold a 44-25 edge (.638) in the all-time series and have won nine of the last 11 matchups. Central Michigan has not won at the Convocation Center since a MAC Tournament First Round contest in 2002 (65-56). The teams first met during the 1972-73 season, with the Bobcats earning an 86-84, overtime victory in Athens. Last season, Ohio won, 82-63, in Mount Pleasant. T.J. Hall notched eight points (4-6 FG) in last season’s meeting.
Ohio hosts a critical MAC crossover matchup when the Bobcats battle West Division-leading Toledo on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. It will mark the second time in eight days Ohio has appeared on ESPNU. Pre-game coverage on the Ohio IMG Sports Network begins at 12:30 p.m.