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Ohio and Belmont Meet In BracketBusters Battle

Senior D.J. Cooper is now tied for 13th on the all-time NCAA Division I assists list with 894 career assists.

Feb. 22, 2013

Ohio vs. Belmont Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Listen Live | Live Stats | WatchESPN Link

ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team (20-6, 11-1 MAC) heads to Nashville, Tenn., for a matchup with perennial NCAA Tournament participant Belmont (21-6, 12-2 OVC) Saturday at 10 p.m. (EST) as part of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series.

The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Mike Crispino will handle play-by-play duties, while Malcolm Huckaby will provide color commentary. In addition, "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon, with streaming audio available on OhioBobcats.com. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to tip off (9:30 p.m.).

Both Ohio and Belmont are ranked in mid-major polls from multiple outlets this season. Ohio entered the week ranked No. 11 in the ESPN.com Mid Major Report Power Rankings and No. 15 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Poll. Belmont is ranked eighth in the ESPN poll and seventh in the CollegeInsider.com rankings.

Last time out, the Bobcats defeated Eastern Michigan, 73-50, on Wednesday (Feb. 20) at the Convocation Center. Senior forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) posted a team-high 20 points, while senior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) added his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 assists.

During the game, Cooper passed Chico Fletcher (Arkansas St.) and is now t-13th with Andre LaFleur (Northeastern) on the all-time NCAA Division I assists list. Cooper now has 894 career assists and has posted at least 200 assists in all four of his seasons at Ohio.

With his season-high five steals vs. EMU, Cooper also moved into 24th place on the all-time NCAA Division I steals ledger.

Cooper, Keely and fellow senior Ivo Baltic also set a new school record for career games played (135) with their appearances Wednesday.

Keely is putting together an outstanding senior season for Ohio. The talented senior is averaging a career-best 11.9 points per game and he leads the Bobcats with 14.1 ppg in conference play. The University Heights, Ohio, product is shooting 63.8 percent (120-188) from the field, an increase of almost 15 percent from his three-year average (.490) entering this season. Keely's .527 career mark is sixth-best all-time at Ohio.

Ohio Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters History

The Bobcats are 6-3 all-time in BracketBusters contests and have won their last three contests, including consecutive wins over UNC-Asheville (2012), Winthrop (2011) and Wright State (2010). Ohio is 4-0 at home and 2-3 in road BracketBusters contests. The road victories have come over Winthrop (2011) and Detroit (2005).

Scouting The Bruins (21-6, 12-2 OVC)

Saturday's game marks the first meeting between Ohio and Belmont. The Bruins are 21-6 this season, 12-2 in OVC contests and 10-0 at home. The team is in the midst of its inaugural season in the OVC. Belmont previously competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference, where the Bruins advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five of the past seven seasons.

The team is led by 2012 Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year Ian Clark, who is first on the team with 18.4 points per game and is shooting 48.1 percent from 3-point territory (87-181), which ranks in the top-10 nationally. Trevor Novack is the team's leading rebounder (5.6 rpg) and ranks third on the Bruins with 12.4 points per contest. Guard Kerron Johnson is Belmont's leading assists man (4.7 apg).

Next Game

Ohio returns to the Convo Wednesday (Feb. 27) for a critical 7 p.m. contest against MAC-leading Akron. The game will be broadcast locally on SportsTime Ohio and across the nation on ESPN3. Michael Reghi will handle play-by-play duties while Dave Cecutti will provide color commentary. In addition, "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon.