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Bobcats Battle No. 22/20 Minutemen Wednesday

OHIOBOBCATS.COM Senior T.J. Hall is averaging 9.7 points and shooting 56.7 percent (17-30) in home games this season.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM
Senior T.J. Hall is averaging 9.7 points and shooting 56.7 percent (17-30) in home games this season.
OHIOBOBCATS.COM

Dec. 17, 2013

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ATHENS, Ohio –
The Ohio University men’s basketball team (7-2) will host a top-20 team for the first time in 16 years on Wednesday evening when No. 22/20 Massachusetts (9-0) visits the Convocation Center.

Tip-off between the Bobcats and Minutemen is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday’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 video/audio 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.

Ohio is 3-5 all-time at home against ranked opponents. The Bobcats last hosted a nationally-ranked team last season on Feb. 27, 2013 when No. 24 Akron came to the Convo. The last top-20 team to invade Athens was No. 7 Kentucky on Dec. 30, 1997.

Last time out, the Green & White put forth an impressive defensive effort during a 72-47 victory over Alabama A&M on Saturday (Dec. 14) inside the Convo. The Bulldogs were held to season lows for an Ohio opponent in points (47), field goals made (15) and field goal percentage (.278).

The Green & White held a 40-26 edge in bench scoring vs. Alabama A&M, with senior guard/forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) and junior guard Javarez Willis (Homer, La.) each posting 12 points. The ‘Cats are 5-0 when they win the bench scoring battle this season.

After its superb defensive play vs. the Bulldogs, Ohio has now held six of its nine opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor this season. Ohio ranks 11th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.372) this season and is second in the MAC in 3pt field goal percentage defense (.292).

Senior guard Nick Kellogg (Westerville, Ohio) became the 36th Bobcat all-time to post 1,000 career points Saturday. He will be honored prior to Wednesday’s game for accomplishing the feat.

BOBCATS No. 18 IN LATEST MID-MAJOR POLL
Ohio is ranked No. 18 in Monday's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. Four MAC teams appear in this week's poll, including Toledo (No. 5), Akron (No. 14), Kent State (No. 16) and the Bobcats (No. 18).

TURNOVER BATTLE WILL BE KEY
Ohio must take care of the ball Wednesday vs. the Minutemen. After averaging just 10.6 turnovers/game over the first six games of the season (5-1), Ohio has committed 17.5 turnovers/game over the past two contests (1-1). The Green & White are 6-0 when they commit fewer turnovers than their opponent this season.

A LOOK AT No. 22/20 UMASS
The No. 22/20 Minutemen are off to their best start since the 1997-98 season, with quality wins over LSU (92-90), Clemson (62-56), BYU (105-96) and then-No. 19 New Mexico (81-65). UMass was picked to finish fourth in the 13-team A-10 in the league’s preseason poll released in October.

The Minutemen rank 25th in the nation in scoring offense (84.0) behind preseason All-Atlantic 10 guard Chaz Williams. The redshirt senior is third in the country with 7.6 assists/game and leads UMass in scoring (16.9 ppg). Junior forward Cady Lalanne ranks in the top-30 nationally in field goal percentage (.613) and rebounding (28th). He’s averaging 15.2 ppg on 61.3 percent shooting (57-93) while pulling down 9.8 rebounds per contest.

HISTORY vs. MASSACHUSETTS
Wednesday’s meeting will be the third all-time between Ohio and UMass. The Minutemen have won the previous two contests. The teams first met on Nov. 28, 1975, in Springfield, Mass., where the Minutemen earned a 95-82 victory. Last season, UMass won 85-76 in Amherst on Dec. 19, 2012. Current Ohio senior Nick Kellogg notched 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the contest.

ALL-TIME vs. RANKED FOES
Ohio has posted an 11-50 record all-time against teams ranked in either the AP poll or ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The ‘Cats last played a ranked team on Nov. 12, when Ohio fell at then-No. 10/9 Ohio State, 79-69. The Bobcats are 3-5 at home, 4-27 away and 4-18 on neutral courts all-time against ranked foes. Two of those neutral court wins have come in the past five seasons, as the ‘Cats defeated No. 15 Georgetown (97-83) in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and No. 14 Michigan (65-60) in the 2012 Big Dance. The Bobcats’ last regular season win came at No. 11 Syracuse (61-55) on Dec. 4, 1998. The last home win was on Jan. 31, 1996 vs. No. 23 Eastern Michigan.

HISTORY vs. ATLANTIC 10 OPPONENTS
Ohio has posted a 47-34 (.580) mark all time against teams currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bobcats’ most common foe is Dayton (21-13), followed by Duquesne (7-6) and St. Bonaventure (4-6). Ohio is 1-0 against Sunday’s opponent (Richmond).

UP NEXT
The Bobcats will play their second-straight Atlantic 10 opponent Sunday (Dec. 22) when Ohio travels east to face Richmond (8-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Robins Center. The game will air on the Ohio IMG Radio Network and also will be broadcast locally in the Richmond area on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and WTVR CBS 6.3.

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