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Ohio Heads to Buffalo for Crucial MAC Game

Nick Kellogg and the Bobcats travel to Buffalo this week for an important MAC game.

Feb. 21, 2012

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ATHENS, OHIO - The Ohio Bobcats (21-6, 8-4) travel north for an important Mid-American Conference contest at Buffalo (16-8, 9-3) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The two teams are separated by one game in the standings and are among the top four in the league.

You can hear all the action as Voice of the Bobcats Russ Eisenstein will have the play-by-play call on the Citizens Banks IMG Ohio Sports Network with Rob Cornelius providing the color commentary.

- Ohio leads the all-time series, 23-8 and is 10-6 all-time at Buffalo
 - Ivo Baltic and D.J. Cooper each scored 24 points as Ohio erased a second-half deficit and toppled Buffalo at Alumni Arena, 76-69 last season
 - Baltic finished with a game-high nine rebounds and scored 20 of his points during the second half. Cooper added five assists and shot over 50 percent from the floor (8-of-15, 3-of-5 on threes).
 - The Bobcats only turned the ball over nine times in the game, out-scored Buffalo 19-2 in points off turnovers and scored 52 points off 74 percent shooting in the second half of the win
 - Ohio has dropped its last three road games against MAC East foes
- Last year, the Green & White achieved their first winning record in true road games since 2002. Over their last 33 road/neutral contests, the Bobcats own a record of 19-14.
 - In MAC play, the ‘Cats are 1-4 on the road, shooting 38 percent from the field and 28 percent from beyond the arc. Opponents are shooting 45 and 36.5 percent respectively and are also a +8.4 in rebound margin
 - Earlier this season, the Bobcats held UB, then the MAC’s highest-scoring team, 26 points below its season and limited Javon McRea to eight points on 4-of-13 shooting in a 60-52 win
 - The ‘Cats out-rebounded UB by three, grabbing 17 offensive caroms. The Bulls entered the game seventh nationally in rebounding margin with an average of +9.7 per contest
 - Jon Smith led the Bobcats with 10 rebounds, one shy of his career-best, and Cooper, Baltic and T.J. Hall had seven rebounds apiece. For Hall, it matched a career-high set last season
 - Cooper scored 15 points and dished out five assists, Nick Kellogg added 14 points on four three-pointers and two free throws while Baltic finished with 12 points
 - Last week, Ohio hit the 20-win mark for the 13th time in program history and second time under current Head Coach John Groce.
 - This year’s team became the fastest Bobcat squad to win 20 games. The 1994-95 team held the mark, capturing their 20th victory on Feb. 22 against Western Michigan
 - Ohio 12-1 start to the season tied the best start for a program in team history, matching the 1920-21 and 1939-40 squads.
 - The Bobcats are sixth in the nation in turnover margin (+4.7) and steals per contest (9.3) while ranking 10th nationally in guarding the perimeter (28.6%)
 - Ohio is also excelling in turning its opponents over, ranking No. 1 in the nation in turnover percentage according to KenPom’s national standings (27.4%)
 - Overall, the record for the Bobcats under Coach Groce when they are able to hold their opponents under 70 points is 57-18 (.760)

Buffalo is 16-8 overall and 9-3 in the MAC and is coming off an 86-65 loss at South Dakota State on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls were led by Mitchell Watt who had 15 points and eight rebounds. Zach Filzen added 13 points and Tony Watson chipped in with 11.

The Bulls are 28-4 in their last 32 homes games and are looking to avoid a three-game losing skid for the first time this season. A win over Ohio would match the Bulls’ longest home win streak since returning to Division I in 1991 (also won 8 straight in 2005-06 and 2008-09).

Javon McCrea and Watt have combined to become one of the best frontcourts in the Mid-American Conference, if not the nation. McCrea is averaging 15.3 points per game, while Watt is averaging 15 points per game. They have each scored double-figures in all but six games this season.

Buffalo ranks third in the nation in rebounding (41.3 rpg). The Bulls have never averaged over 40 rebounds per game in a season since joining the MAC. Their previous high was 38.4 in 2007-08.

Walter Offutt matched his career-high with 19 points to lead Ohio to a convincing 81-62 victory over UNC-Asheville in the annual BracketBuster game Saturday night. Ohio never trailed as it cruised to its eighth win in the last 10 games.

The Bobcats shot at a 58 percent clip for its second-highest mark of the season (62% at Wright State). Offutt was one of three players to finish in double figures. Stevie Taylor scored 12 points and Nick Kellogg finished with 10 points. Ivo Baltic pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

The Bobcat defense smothered the UNC-Asheville attack that came into the game ranking 4th in the nation in scoring (82.3) and 11th in the nation in field goal percentage (49.0). Ohio held the Bulldogs to 34 percent shooting, 5-of-24 from beyond the arc.

Ohio shot an incredible 73 percent from the field in the second half as TyQuane Goard had a career night with seven points and five rebounds. Nick Goff scored the first five points of his career and  Jon Smith chipped in with five points, five rebounds and three blocks. The Bobcats improved to 11-1 when Smith grabs five or more rebounds.

D.J. Cooper was named the Mid-American Conference’s East Division Player of the Week by the league offices on Feb. 20. The junior guard was honored by the conference for the second time this season and seventh time of his career.

Cooper helped the Bobcats become the only MAC East team to win both its games during the past week as he scored a season-high 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in the win against Bowling Green.

Against UNC-Asheville, the Cousy Award finalist scored only six points but dished out eight assists, his highest total since his triple-double earlier this season against Portland. Cooper is now 23 assists shy of breaking the Ohio all-time mark and ranks 16th nationally with an average of 2.3 steals per game.

20-10 CLUB
last Wednesday, Ohio won its 20th game of the season. The Bobcats became the first team from the Mid-American Conference to reach that mark this season. Of the 13 Division 1 men’s basketball programs in the state of Ohio, the Bobcats, along with nationally-ranked Ohio State and Cleveland State, are the only ones with 20 or more wins.

This season on the gridiron, Ohio Football won 10 games for the first time since 1968 and captured the first bowl win in school history. Currently, only six other Division 1 schools can boast a 10-win football team and a 20-win basketball team (Baylor, BYU, Michigan, Michigan State, Southern Mississippi and Wisconsin).

Head Coach John Groce won 56 games in his first three seasons as leader of the Bobcats. That win total is seven more than the previous best three-year start to a coaching career in Athens (Dutch Trautwein, 49 wins, 1938-41).

“Gentleman” Jim Snyder is the all-time wins leader among Ohio head coaches with 355 to his credit. He coached the Bobcats from 1947 to 1974, a span of 25 seasons. Currently, Groce is seventh all-time in career wins with the Green & White.

All In is a reality sports documentary television series following Ohio Men’s Basketball through Mid-American Conference play. The show will give fans an in-depth perspective of the team’s preparation for games, as well as the games themselves, and take a look at the lives off the court for these student-athletes.

All In airs Tuesdays on WOUB at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The show also airs on SportsTime Ohio on Tuesdays, with times varying. For a complete list of STO airdates, please see below. In addition to the network airings, All In will also be shown on OhioBobcats.com

STO Dates and Times
Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 at 9:30 p.m.
Feb. 21 at 9:30 p.m.
Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.
March 6 at 7:30 p.m.
March 13 at 7:30 p.m.