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Ohio And Akron Renew Rivalry Saturday At The J.A.R.

Junior Javarez "Bean" Willis has handled the bulk of the point guard duties over Ohio's past two games.

Feb. 21, 2014


The Last Meeting
January 12, 2014
Athens, Ohio
Ohio Falls To Akron In Double Overtime, 83-80
The Ohio University men's basketball team (11-4, 1-1) fought hard through two overtimes but could not dispatch of the visiting Akron Zips (10-5, 2-0), who escaped Athens with an 83-80 victory Sunday evening.

ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (18-8, 8-5) rekindles one of the MAC’s fiercest rivalries Saturday when the ‘Cats travel to Northeast Ohio to battle Akron (6 p.m.) at James A. Rhodes Arena.

The Zips won the first meeting this season, 83-80, in double overtime on Jan. 12 in Athens.

Tip-off in Akron is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and streamed nationally on ESPN3. Michael Reghi will handle play-by-play duties while Tony White will provide color commentary. In addition, the 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 audio stream is available on OhioBobcats.com, with pre-game coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Bobcats are 12-3 in their past 15 MAC road contests. Prior to the Feb. 5 setback at Western Michigan, Ohio’s 11-1 mark in its previous 12 league road games set a new program record.

Last time out, Ohio fell to Western Michigan, 73-63, on Wednesday inside the Convo. The ‘Cats were victimized by strong WMU advantages in points in the paint (40-28) and second chance points (27-9). Ohio also committed 17 turnovers.

Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) posted 17 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and knocked down 4-of-9 3-point field goals. Junior forward Maurice Ndour (Mbour, Senegal) added 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks for Ohio.

Kellogg now has made 267 3-pointers and needs just eight triples to become Ohio’s all-time leader. With 11 more 3-pointers, he will become the MAC’s all-time leader.

After Western Michigan shot 50 percent from the field Wednesday, Ohio’s opponent has now shot better than 45 percent in five of the Bobcats’ last six games (3-3). In contrast, the ‘Cats limited their opponents to below 45 percent shooting in each of the team’s first seven MAC games (5-2).

Junior Javarez Willis (Homer, La.) has played the bulk of the Ohio point guard minutes over the past two games while Stevie Taylor battles a leg injury. Willis has averaged 5.5 points, 4.0 assists and 33.0 minutes/game during the stretch (more than double his regular minutes).

Like most of the nation’s teams, Ohio’s success in games is often dictated greatly by how well the Bobcats take care of the ball. The Green & White are 15-3 when they commit fewer than 15 turnovers, but are just 3-5 when they make more than 15 miscues. On the other end of the floor, Ohio is 5-2 this season when it forces its opponent to commit 15 or more turnovers. This season, Ohio and its opponents have given up an equal number of turnovers, as the Green & White are seventh in the MAC with a +0.0 turnover margin. The ‘Cats are 10-1 when they post fewer turnovers than their opponent, but just 8-7 when they commit more than the opposition.

A LOOK AT AKRON (17-9, 9-4)
The Zips opened MAC play with six wins in their first seven contests, but are 3-3 in their last six league games. Akron is coming off a 96-90 setback at Buffalo. The Bulls and Zips are tied for first place in the MAC East Division, while Ohio sits in third place.

Akron is paced offensively by reigning MAC East Player of the Week Demetrius Treadwell, who leads the team with 14.8 points and is third in the MAC with 8.8 rebounds per contest (9.9 in league play). Treadwell has posted 13 double-doubles on the season, which is tied for first in the league. Senior forward Quincy Diggs paces the team in assists (2.7/game) and is second on the Zips in scoring with 12.2 ppg. Akron is coached by Keith Dambrot, who has accumulated a 226-103 (.687) mark in 10 seasons.

The Bobcats and Zips will meet for the 71st time on the hardwood Saturday. Both teams have earned 35 wins in the all-time series, including four-straight in favor of the Zips. Ohio also has dropped the last two meetings at the J.A.R. Ohio and Akron first met during the 1911-12 season, with the Zips earning a 21-18 win in Athens. This season, Akron won the first matchup in Athens, 83-80, in a double overtime thriller on Jan. 12. The two teams have met in three of the past four MAC Tournament finals, with Ohio winning two of the three contests (2010, 2012).

Ohio returns to Athens for its second meeting with Buffalo on Wednesday (Feb. 26) at 7 p.m. Pre-game coverage on the Ohio IMG Sports Network begins at 6:30 p.m. Ohio won the first meeting, 73-70, in Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 15.