OXFORD, Ohio– The Ohio men's basketball team was unable to overcome a slow first half, falling to Miami, 79-59, Saturday afternoon (Feb. 9), inside Millett Hall.
"We had a spirt where we had a few turnovers and a couple missed easier shots," fifth year head coach Saul Phillips said. "It's a familiar narrative and we're grasping to find answers to that right now. This group is pushing awfully hard right now. I think what we talked about at halftime were just some very simple adjustments and understanding that we had 20 minutes to play. We weren't going to get it by squeezing any harder then we already are and to just go out and play basketball."
Leading Ohio was sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) with 18 points, going 7-of-18 from the field, 1-of-3 from three-point range and 3-of-6 from the free throw line. Kirk also added five steals. Redshirt Sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) added 16 points, going 5-of-13 from the field and six rebounds, while redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) added 12 points and dished out four assists in 30 minutes. Freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) added seven points for the Bobcats in 30 minutes on the floor.
Miami would get on the board first with a three-pointer. Senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) would get the Bobcats on the board with a free throw. Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) would tie the game up at three moments later with a layup. Miami would then go on a 5-0 run to take an 8-3 lead before a three from Vander Plas would pull the Bobcats within two with 16:18 left in the half. However, Miami would go up 17-8 before a Jason Preston layup would bring Ohio within seven. However, the Bobcats would be unable to get the offense going throughout the remainder of the half, going to the locker room trailing Miami, 47-27.
At the half, Ohio shot 38.5 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 40.0 percent from the free throw line, while Miami shot 51.2 percent from the field, 30.8 from three-point range and 69.2 percent from the free throw line. The Bobcats were our rebounded 26-13 and dished out five assists, while the RedHawks dished out five.
"Just scoring the basketball," Carter said. "It gives us a lot of energy and when we miss a few shots it's effecting way too much right now. It's to the point where it just kills our energy on both sides. That's the main thing right now. We have to make shots. We'll come in tomorrow and work on it."
The Bobcats would open the second half on a 10-2 run, led by three-pointers from Kirk and Vander Plas, cutting the Miami lead to 49-37 with 17:42 left. The RedHawks and Bobcats would trade baskets over the next few minutes, sending the game to the first media timeout with Ohio trailing 53-39. After the media timeout, the Bobcats would go on an 8-0, capped by two Carter layups, cutting the Miami lead to six with 12:57 left in the game. However, after the media timeout, Miami would go on a 6-0 run, going back up 62-47 with 10:07 left in the game. A layup form Carter would stop the run, bring the score to 62-49. The next three minutes would see only one free throw from Miami, bring the score to 63-49 going into the next media timeout.
A layup and free throw from Vander Plas would cut the score to 65-53, however, Miami would go on another run, taking a 75-53 lead with 2:30 left in the game. Carter would drain a three to bring the score to 75-56, however, the Bobcats would be unable to close the gap, falling to the RedHawks, 79-59.
Overall, the Bobcats shot 35.6 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from three-point range and 52.4 percent from the free throw line, while Miami shot 46.2 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 77.4 percent from the free throw line. Miami out rebounded the Bobcats, 47-29, while the Bobcats dished out 11 assists, had nine steals, two blocks and forced 17 turnovers, while the RedHawks dished out 13 assists, had seven steals, five blocks and forced 12 turnovers. The Bobcats scored 15 points off of turnovers and scored 30 points in the paint, while Miami scored 14 points off of turnovers and 24 points in the paint.
For Miami, Bam Bowman scored 23 points, going 7-of-10 from the field, 2-of-3 from three-point range and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. He also grabbed a game-high 12 boards. Darrian Ringo added 14 points and dished out five assists, while Nike Sibande added 13 points and seven boards.
Up next, the Bobcats return to Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 12 when they host MAC West foe Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.