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Ohio Wraps Up Regular Season Saturday At Rival Miami

Bean Willis posted a season-high 16 points at Bowling Green on Tuesday.

March 6, 2014


ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (20-10, 10-7) wraps up the 2013-14 regular season when the Bobcats play the back half of the “Battle of the Bricks” series Saturday at Miami (noon). The ‘Cats won the first meeting, 82-75, in Athens on Feb. 8 and have won the past five games between the schools.

Tip-off is scheduled for noon inside the Millett Hall. Saturday’s game will be televised locally on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and streamed nationally on ESPN3. Mike Cairns will handle play-by-play duties while Dave Cecutti will handle color commentary.

The contest 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, with pre-game coverage beginning at 11:30 a.m.

A victory against Miami would give Ohio a road sweep of the MAC East (5-0) for the first time since divisional play began in 1997-98.

With a win Saturday and losses by Akron and EMU this weekend, Ohio would earn the No. 4 seed and a double bye in the MAC Tournament. With a loss or an Akron and/or EMU win, Ohio would become either the No. 5 or 6 seed and host a first round game on Monday (March 10).

Of the teams currently seeded 1-6 in the MAC, Ohio has played the toughest league schedule based on opponent winning percentage. The order: Ohio (.529), EMU (.480), Akron (.477), WMU (.464), Buffalo (.461), Toledo (.458).

The Bobcats are 14-3 in their past 17 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 defeated Bowling Green, 72-61, on Tuesday at the Stroh Center. The ‘Cats shot season bests from the field (.578) and 3-point territory (.556) in the game and held a 29-22 edge on the glass against the Falcons.

The victory was Ohio’s ninth road win of the season - the most by a Bobcat team since the 1985-86 squad posted 10 away victories.

With the win, Ohio also reached the 20-win plateau for the third-straight season, the fourth time in five years and the 15th time in school history.

Senior guard Nick Kellogg led Ohio with 25 points (8-13 FG) and six rebounds while knocking down two 3-pointers against the Falcons. Kellogg now has 273 career triples and needs just two 3-pointers to pass D.J. Cooper and become Ohio’s all-time leader in the category. With five more, he will become the MAC’s all-time 3-point king.

Junior point guard Javarez “Bean” Willis posted a season-high 16 points (6-7 FG) at BGSU and knocked down 4-of-5 3-point attempts. He has played the bulk of the Ohio point guard minutes over the past six games while Stevie Taylor battles a leg injury. Willis has averaged 8.0 points, 4.5 assists and 31.2 minutes/game during the stretch (close to double his regular minutes).

A LOOK AT MIAMI (12-16, 8-9)
The RedHawks have put together a strong conference season and currently hold the No. 7 seed in the league heading into the final game of the regular season. Miami has won three of its past four games, including wins over Akron (Feb. 26) and at Kent State on Tuesday. The RedHawks are 7-5 at home this season, including a 4-4 mark in league play.

Miami leads the conference and is 19th nationally in free throw percentage (.750). The RedHawks also are sixth in the MAC in field goal percentage (.436). The team is paced offensively by senior forward Will Felder, who ranks seventh in the MAC in scoring (14.9 ppg) and is ninth in rebounding (6.8 rpg). Senior guard Quinten Rollins is the team’s leading assists man (3.9 apg, 6th in MAC) and is averaging 6.7 points per game for Miami. Junior Will Sullivan is second on the team with 10.2 ppg and leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.447).

The Bobcats and RedHawks will meet in the 193rd edition of the “Battle of the Bricks” Saturday. Rival Miami is Ohio’s most-common opponent in the 107 year history of the program. The ‘Cats hold a 101-91 edge (.526) in the all-time series. Ohio has won the last five meetings between the teams and two of the past three matchups in Oxford. The teams first met during the 1907-08 season in Oxford, with the RedHawks earning a 24-8 win. Ohio won the first meeting this season between the teams, 82-75, in Athens on Feb. 8. Ohio rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit, led by a career-high 27 points from Nick Kellogg.

Ohio opens play in the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament presented by Barbasol. The Bobcats will enter the event as either the No. 4, 5 or 6 seed. If Ohio receives the No. 4 seed, it will receive a double-bye into Thursday’s quarterfinal in Cleveland. If the Bobcats earn the No. 5 or 6 seed, Ohio will host a game Monday (March 10) in the Convo.