MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica– Despite an early lead, the Ohio men's basketball team (2-1) would be unable to overcome a big first half run by South Florida (3-0), falling to the Bulls, 73-46, Friday evening (Nov. 16) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in the first game on site at the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic.
"We certainly did not get enough shots," fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips said. "We didn't get enough good ball movement and turned it over too many times. We're a better shooting team than that. We can also do a better job of generating shots than we did tonight. We just need to make each other better with the pass a little bit more. We didn't have anyone get going offensively. I've got to figure out ways to get that going on nights when we aren't shooting well and I didn't do a very good job of that tonight."
Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) led Ohio with 13 points, going 5-of-9 from the field and 3-of-6 from the free throw line. Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) finished with 10 points, going 4-of-8 from the field and grabbed five rebounds, while redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) finished the game with eight points and six rebounds.
Down 4-0 early to start the game, Kirk would get the Bobcats going with the first Ohio basket of the game. With just over five minutes into the first half, Cowart (McComb, Miss.) would register a jumper in the paint to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game. Ohio would go on to a 12-7 lead with 11:32 left after a Kirk steal and basket.
South Florida would then go on a 23-1 run over the next eight minutes to take a 30-15 lead. Redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) would stop the run with a layup at the three-minute mark, however the Bobcats would head to the locker room trailing 33-15.
The Bobcats struggled offensively in the first half, going 6-of-27 (.222) from the field and 0-of-12 from three. Meanwhile, USF went 13-of-28 (.464) from the field and 4-of-11 (.364) from three-point range. The Bobcats grabbed 15 boards compared to USF's 23, however both Ohio and USF registered nine turnovers, with each team scoring six points off of those turnovers.
Senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) would get the Bobcats going to open the second half. Carter would then score Ohio's next eight points to make the score 43-25 at the first media timeout. A tip-in by Kirk would make the score 43-27, which would be the closest the Bobcats would get the rest of the evening.
Vander Plas would drain a three-pointer with six minutes remaining, followed by a layup from Kirk and a three from senior forward/guard Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) to make the score 64-41. Kirk would score the final three points for the Bobcats, as they would fall by the final of 73-46.
As a team, Ohio shot 29 percent (16-of-55) from the field, 67 percent (12-of-18) from the free throw line and eight percent (2-of-25) from three-point range, while USF shot 44 percent (24-of-55) from the field, 27 percent (6-of-22) from three-point range and 73 percent (19-of-26) from the free throw line. Ohio grabbed 36 rebounds compared to USF's 39 and registered 20 turnovers to the Bulls' 17. The Bobcats scored 12 points off of turnovers, while USF scored 17, while the Bulls scored 32 points in the paint compared to Ohio's 26.
For USF, four Bulls scored in double figures with Alexis Yetna, T.J. Lang and Justin Brown all scored 11 points, with Yetna grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Michael Durr finished the game with 10 points, going 3-of-5 from the field and 4-of-8 from the free throw line, while Laquincy Rideau scored six points with five rebounds and six assists.
Ohio is back in action on Sunday, Nov. 18 when the Bobcats take on Loyola Marymount in the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on CBS Sports Network. The contest will also be broadcast on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call. Radio pregame coverage is set to begin at 6:00 p.m. ET with 'Countdown To Tipoff.'