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Ohio And Buffalo Battle For The MAC East Wednesday

Senior Travis Wilkins is shooting a MAC-best 48.4 percent from 3-point territory in league play.

Feb. 25, 2014


ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team (19-8, 9-5) returns home to play their second game in 11 days versus Buffalo (16-8, 10-4) Wednesday.

The winner of Wednesday's game will take over the top spot in the MAC East Division. 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 audio/video stream is available on OhioBobcats.com, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

With a win against the Bulls, Ohio would reach the 20-win plateau for the third-straight season, the fourth time in five years and the 15th time in school history.

Last time out, Ohio earned a critical road victory over rival Akron (66-50) on Saturday at the J.A.R. With the win, the `Cats moved into a tie for second in the MAC East and fourth overall.

The `Cats held the Zips to opponent season lows in field goal percentage (.268) and assists (4). It marked the lowest field goal percentage for an Ohio opponent since Ball State shot 26.5 percent on February 6, 2013.

Senior forward Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) led Ohio with 16 points and a career-best 12 boards while going 8-of-9 (.889) from the field. The performance moved Smith into the top spot in the MAC in field goal percentage (.651) this season.

Senior guard Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) added 14 points (3-3 3pt FG) for Ohio. He leads the MAC in 3-point field goal percentage in league play (.484).

The Green & White have now posted eight road wins on the year. With one more victory, Ohio would earn nine road victories in a season for the first time since the 1985-86 campaign.

Wednesday's contest vs. Buffalo will serve as Ohio's annual Green Fever game. Green Fever is a partnership between Ohio Athletics and the Ohio University Sports Administration Program. In its sixth season, Green Fever is a marketing initiative to help "Green Out" the Convocation Center, increase awareness of Ohio Basketball within the Athens community. All revenue generated from Green Fever t-shirt sales support student scholarships. The t-shirts will be sold at Wednesday's game. To learn more, click here

In addition to the Green Fever activities, there also will be a student tailgate catered by Kiser's BBQ, courtesy of Ohio Athletics.

With a victory against Buffalo on Wednesday, Ohio head coach Jim Christian would become the fastest Mid-American Conference skipper to reach 100 league victories. Christian is 99-35 (.739) in league games in his eight seasons between Ohio and Kent State.

He would become one of 10 MAC coaches to reach the 100-win plateau in league play. Keith Dambrot of Akron (126-70) and Steve Hawkins of Western Michigan (110-71) are the two other current MAC head coaches who have reached 100 conference wins. Longtime Bobcat head coaches Jim Snyder (176-113) and Larry Hunter (123-87) also are part of the exclusive 100-win club.

Ohio has seen a marked improvement offensively over the past seven contests. The `Cats have averaged 75.6 ppg and shot 50.6 percent from the field, including a 39.0 percent mark from 3-point territory (65.7/.425/.322 over first seven MAC games). The `Cats have made 9.1 3-pointers/game during the stretch.

A LOOK AT BUFFALO (16-8, 10-4)
The Bulls currently sit atop the MAC East Division standings with a 10-4 league mark. Buffalo has won five of its past six league games, with the only loss coming to the Bobcats on Feb. 15. The Bulls are 5-5 on the road this season and 4-3 in conference play. The team last won in Athens on Jan. 22, 2011.

Buffalo is led by reigning MAC East Player of the Week Javon McCrea, who ranks second in the conference with 18.9 ppg and is 15th nationally with 10.3 rebounds per contest. The senior has posted a MAC-leading 14 double-doubles on the season (which ranks sixth nationally) and is 25th in the country with a 57.6 field goal percentage. Senior guard Jarod Oldham leads the team and ranks second in the MAC with 5.3 assists per contest. Former Duke All-American Bobby Hurley is in his first season as head coach of the Bulls.

The Bobcats and Bulls will meet on the hardwood for the 37th time on Wednesday night. Ohio holds a 28-8 edge in the all-time series and has won the last seven matchups between the programs. The teams first met during the 1929-30 season, with the Bulls earning a 41-23 victory. Ohio swept the season series in 2012-13 and captured the first meeting between the two squads this season, 73-70, on Feb. 15 at Alumni Arena. Nick Kellogg and Maurice Ndour each posted 17 points to lead the `Cats.

Ohio plays its final home game of the regular season when the `Cats host MAC East foe Kent State (15-12, 6-8) on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m., with pre-game coverage on the Ohio IMG Sports Network kicking off at 1:30 p.m. Ohio will honor its five seniors prior to the game for their contributions to the program.