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Ohio Classic Continues With Tuesday Matchup vs. Mercer

T.J. Hall and the Bobcats host 2013-13 Atlantic Sun champion Mercer Tuesday inside the Convocation Center.

Nov. 25, 2013


ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio University men’s basketball team (4-1) looks to move to 3-0 in the 2013 Ohio Classic when the Green & White take on 2013 NIT participant Mercer (4-2) Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.

Tip-off between the Bobcats and Bears is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network. “Voice of the Bobcats” Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the game, with live audio/video available on OhioBobcats.com. Pre-game coverage begins 30 minutes prior to tip (6:30 p.m.). The Ohio IMG Sports Network includes 16 radio affiliates throughout southern Ohio and West Virginia.

Saturday’s contest is the second of three home games in eight days for the Bobcats. The three-game homestand is Ohio’s longest of the 2013-14 campaign.

From Nov. 17-Nov. 30, Ohio will host four contests as part of the Ohio Classic. The round-robin event includes matchups with Valparaiso (W, 76-72), Heidelberg (W, 85-57), Mercer (Nov. 26) and Evansville (Nov. 30).

Last time out, the Bobcats moved to 3-0 at home this season with a 85-57 win over Division III opponent Heidelberg Saturday inside the Convo. The Student Princes were within three (45-42) early in the second half, but Ohio put the game out of reach with a 27-8 run midway through the stanza.

Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) led Ohio with 18 points (4-6 3pt FG), while senior forward Jon Smith (Grove City, Ohio) added a career-high 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and added eight rebounds.

The Bobcats put together another strong defensive effort against the Student Princes, as Ohio forced 16 Heidelberg turnovers that led to 19 points for the Bobcats. Ohio also held a season-high +19 edge in rebounding (48-29) that helped the Bobcats earn a 44-12 advantage in points in the paint against the Princes.

The Bobcats’ balanced scoring attack has been key during the team’s 4-1 start this season. The Green & White are a perfect 3-0 when four or more players score in double figures in a game. Ohio has had seven different players score at least 10 points in a game in 2013-14, and all five Bobcat starters average 7.6 points or better on the year. Nick Kellogg (15.6 ppg), Maurice Ndour (14.0 ppg) and Ricardo Johnson (10.8) are all averaging double figure scoring this season.

The defending Atlantic Sun Conference regular season champs are off to a solid start in 2013-14. The Bears dropped their season-opener by three points at Texas. A week later they bounced back with a win over the Big East’s Seton Hall (2OT) before losing at Ohio’s Saturday opponent, Evansville (100-92). Last time out, the Bears dispatched of Yale, 81-54, on Saturday in Macon. Mercer returns four starters from a team that finished a game ahead of the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 Team Florida Gulf Coast and reached the NIT Second Round. The Bears were picked second in the 2013-14 A-Sun preseason poll and received 3-of-9 first place votes.

The team is led by preseason All-Atlantic Sun guard Langston Hall. The senior is leading the team with 16.0 points per game and 5.5 assists per contest. Forward Daniel Coursey, another senior, is pacing the team in rebounds with 7.0 per game and is second in scoring with 11.3 points/game.

Ohio and Mercer have met on two previous occasions on the basketball court. The teams first played on Dec. 10, 1990, when the ‘Cats picked up a 74-69 road victory in Macon under head coach Larry Hunter. In the most recent meeting, the Bears upended the Bobcats, 67-64, on Nov. 15, 2003, as part of the BCA Classic in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Green & White have posted a 3-3 record all-time against teams currently in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bobcats last played an A-Sun team on Dec. 30, 2011 at the Convo, when Ohio dispatched of Kennesaw State, 71-63. Ohio’s most common opponents in the conference are East Tennessee State (0-2) and Mercer (1-1).

Ohio plays its final contest in the Ohio Classic against undefeated Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville (5-0) Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the Convocation Center. Pre-game coverage on the Ohio IMG Sports Network begins at 1:30 p.m.