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Ohio And Miami Battle In MAC Second Round Wednesday

Junior guard Javarez

March 11, 2014


ATHENS, Ohio – The fifth-seeded Ohio University men’s basketball team (22-10, 11-7) advances to Cleveland for the 10th-straight season to take on No. 8 Miami (13-17, 8-10) in MAC Tournament Second Round action Wednesday inside Quicken Loans Arena.

Ohio has won the past six meetings in the “Battle of the Bricks,” including both contests this season.

Tip-off between the Bobcats and RedHawks is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday’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.

The game 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 beginnning at 6 p.m.

With a victory over the RedHawks, Ohio would advance to the quarterfinals and take on No. 4 seed Akron on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

The Bobcats are 6-3 against Miami all-time in the MAC Tournament. The teams have split their past four matchups in the event.

Last time out, Ohio dispatched of No. 12 seed Ball State, 76-64, in first round action Monday night in Athens. Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) led Ohio with 17 points and five assists, while junior guard Javarez Willis (Homer, La.) added 15 points (3-6 3pt FG) and five dimes. Senior guard Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) posted 14 points (4-5 3pt FG) while freshman forward Antonio Campbell (Cincinnati, Ohio) added 12 points.

Ohio is now 11-2 (.846) in its past 13 MAC Tournament contests.

Kellogg is Ohio’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. After posting two triples vs. BSU on Monday, the senior became the all-time MAC 3-point king as well. He’s posted 279 trifectas in his career.

Willis has caught fire in Ohio’s past three games. The Homer, La., native is averaging 15.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, and shooting 61.1 percent from beyond the arc. Willis has started the past eight games at point guard after an injury to Stevie Taylor.

In addition to Willis’ strong performances, freshman forward Antonio Campbell has shined during Ohio's three-game win streak. Campbell is averaging 12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg and shooting 75 percent during the stretch, up significantly from his season averages in points (3.1) and rebounds (2.3) per game.

The victory over Ball State gave Ohio 22 wins on the season, which is tied for the sixth-most in school history. The Bobcats have won at least 22 games in three-straight years – the best streak in program history.

The 2013-14 Ohio senior class of T.J. Hall, Ricardo Johnson, Nick Kellogg, Jon Smith and Travis Wilkins has a chance to surpass last year’s senior contingent as the all-time winningest class in Ohio history. This season’s senior quintet is tied with last year’s class for most wins all-time at Ohio (94). The 2012-13 senior class included Ivo Baltic, D.J. Cooper, Nick Goff, Reggie Keely, David McKinley and Walter Offutt.

A LOOK AT MIAMI (13-17, 8-10)
The Redhawks are the No. 8 seed in the MAC Tournament and advanced to Cleveland after dispatching of No. 9 Kent State, 71-64, in Oxford on Monday. Miami has won four of its past six games. The team is paced offensively by All-MAC Second Team selection Will Felder, who ranks ninth in the MAC in scoring (14.4 ppg) and is ninth in rebounding (6.8 rpg). Senior guard Quinten Rollins is the team’s leading assists man (4.0 apg, 5th in MAC) and is averaging 7.1 points per game for Miami. Oregon transfer Willie Moore is averaging 8.6 ppg in conference play and posted 22 points vs. Ohio on Saturday (March 8) in Oxford.

Ohio has posted a 38-26 record (.594) all-time in the MAC Tournament, including a 76-64 win over Ball State in first round action on Monday. The Bobcats are playing in their 33rd MAC Tournament this season. The Green & White have won two of the past four league tournaments and have posted an 11-2 record (.846) in their past 13 games in the event.

The MAC Championship began in 1980 and Ohio first qualified for the event in 1981 as the No. 7 seed, falling to No. 2 Ball State, 85-70, in the quarterfinals. Last season, No. 2 Ohio defeated No. 3 WMU, 74-63, in the semifinals, before falling to top seed Akron, 65-46, in the final.

The Bobcats and RedHawks will meet in the 194th edition of the “Battle of the Bricks” Wednesday. It’s the second matchup between the teams in four days. Rival Miami is Ohio’s most-common opponent in the 107 year history of the program. The ‘Cats hold a 102-91 edge (.528) in the all-time series. Ohio has won the last six meetings between the teams.

The teams first met during the 1907-08 season in Oxford, with the RedHawks earning a 24-8 win. Ohio won the first two meetings this season. The ‘Cats won, 82-75, in Athens on Feb. 8, after rallying from a 16-point second-half deficit. On Saturday (March 8) in Oxford, the ‘Cats prevailed, 82-76, in overtime.

The Bobcats enter the MAC Tournament as the No. 5 seed for the sixth time in school history (1991, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2014). Ohio has posted a 7-5 record all-time as the fifth seed but has never won the tournament from that position. The Green & White have advanced to the semifinals on two occasions (2001, 2006) from the No. 5 position. In 2006, the ‘Cats fell to Jim Christian led Kent State, 72-59, in the semis.

If Ohio defeats Miami on Wednesday, the ‘Cats will face No. 4 seed Akron on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena. The teams split a pair of meetings this season, with each squad winning on the other’s home court.