Jan. 30, 2014
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ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (15-5, 5-2) faces off with the University of Toledo (18-2, 6-1) on national television Saturday in an important Mid-American Conference battle at the Convo.
The Last Meeting
January 19, 2013
Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU and can be streamed online and on mobile devices via the WatchESPN app. Dan Gutowsky will handle play-by-play duties while Sean Harrington will provde color commentary.
The game also 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 audio stream is available on OhioBobcats.com. Pre-game coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.
The ESPNU telecast marks Ohio’s second appearance on the network in eight days. The ‘Cats upended Eastern Michigan (58-56) on Jan. 25 during an 11 a.m. ESPNU broadcast.
Ohio has won 10-straight games against MAC West opponents and is 4-0 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 38-14 (.731) against the West Division in regular season contests since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.
Last time out, the 'Cats rallied from an 18-point (48-30) second half deficit to surge past Central Michigan, 71-67, on Wednesday at the Convo. Ohio used a 21-3 run to knot the game at 51-51, then closed the contest on an 11-3 surge to clinch the victory.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour posted his third double-double of the season with 21 points (7-11 FG) and 11 rebounds to lead Ohio against the Chippewas. It marked the Mbour, Senegal, native's sixth 20-point effort of the year.
The Ohio vs. Toledo contest marks Ohio’s annual Blackout Game. All members of #BobcatNation are encouraged to wear black to Saturday’s contest. In addition, the first 1,000 students at the game will receive free winter hats and Chick-Fil-A.
CARDIAC ‘CATS KEEP COMING BACK
In four of its past 10 games, Ohio has rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to overtake its opponent and escape with a victory. The Bobcats have faced deficits of 10 (at Richmond), 12 (at UNC-Asheville), 13 (at Eastern Michigan) and 18 (vs. Central Michigan) while winning all four contests. In those games, Ohio has held an average scoring margin of +11.8 in the second half while putting together a 45.0 field goal percentage and 35.1 3-point field goal percentage. The ‘Cats also have gotten back into the game by playing excellent defense while holding its opponents to 34 percent shooting from the field and 26.5 percent from 3-point land in those second halves.
SELECT DEFENSIVE COMPANY
The Green & White have limited their opponents to 70 points or less in 15-of-20 games this season and the ‘Cats are 14-1 in those contests. Ohio opponents are averaging just 63.0 points per game this season, which is tied for lowest in the MAC. The Bobcats have held opponents to less than 64 points per game just four times in the modern era of Ohio basketball. Ohio made the NCAA Tournament in three of those four seasons (1982-83, 1984-85, 2011-12). The 'Cats allowed just 62.5 ppg en route to the team's 2011-12 Sweet 16 berth.
DEFENSE CARRYING BOBCATS IN LEAGUE PLAY
Ohio has put together an outstanding defense effort over its first seven league games, as the ‘Cats lead the conference in field goal percentage defense (.359) and scoring defense (59.1). The ‘Cats have held five of their seven MAC opponents to less than 60 points and under 40 percent shooting from the field. The stellar defense has made up for Ohio’s offensive struggles, as Ohio is seventh in the league in scoring offense (65.7 ppg).
A LOOK AT TOLEDO (18-2, 6-1)
The Rockets were picked to finish first out of six teams in the MAC West Division in the league’s preseason poll. Toledo rolled through non-conference play (12-1) and won at Boston College in November. The Rockets also played well at then-No. 8 Kansas before falling to the Jayhawks in December. Toledo has won six of its first seven MAC games, including an 83-70 win over Miami in Oxford on Wednesday (Jan. 29).
The Rockets enter the week 13th in the nation in scoring (83.2 ppg), 24th in assists per game (15.9 apg) and 25th in field goal percentage (.486). Toledo is led by junior point guard Julius Brown, who ranks third on the team with 13.9 points per game and is eighth in the nation in 6.5 assists per game.
Preseason All-MAC selection Rian Pearson ranks second on the team in scoring (14.9 ppg), while Loyola (Md.) transfer Justin Drummond leads the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and is third in rebounding (5.1 rpg). Ohio State transfer J.D. Weatherspoon is the team’s leading rebounder (6.3 rpg.). Five Rockets average double figures in scoring on the year.
HISTORY vs. TOLEDO
The Bobcats and Rockets will meet on the hardwood for the 122nd time Saturday. Toledo is the Bobcats’ fifth most common opponent all time. Ohio holds a 67-54 edge (.554) in the all-time series and has won six of the last seven matchups. Toledo has not won at the Convo since 2002. The teams first met during the 1930-31 season at Toledo, with the Rockets earning a 15-13 win. Last season, the Bobcats defeated the Rockets in Athens (76-67) on Jan. 19, 2013. Ohio and Toledo have met twice in the past three MAC Tournaments, with Ohio winning both meetings in 2011 (First Round, 74-57) and 2012 (Quarters, 65-57).
Ohio continues cross-over play when the ‘Cats travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., on Wednesday (Feb. 5) for the first of two meetings with Western Michigan. Tip time from University Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.