Ohio sometimes wouldn’t even encounter pressure from multiple players.
Most times IUPUI sent one player with another lurking behind to tightly guard Ohio’s ballhandler. But that one player would guard the ball until it reached half court.
The Bobcats struggled against the Jaguars’ full-court pressure, and though the pressure only directly caused one turnover, the Bobcats committed a season-high 17 turnovers. Ohio lost 76-52 against IUPUI on Saturday in The Convo, not once taking the lead in the game. The loss marks the program's biggest since 2013, coach Bob Boldon's first season with the Bobcats.
The one turnover Ohio fell prey to because of the press came at the beginning of the game. After IUPUI forward Tamya Sims scored a layup, Ohio turned the ball over on the inbounds pass.
Boldon said he thought that was the only turnover the press directly caused. Even so, the Jaguars played tight defense in the half court, too.
“We had some passes in the half-court offense where we just passed it to them,” Boldon said.
The Bobcats scored nine points in the first quarter, but they gave up 26. For a team that prides itself on defense, its intensity on that end wasn’t present. For the first time this season, the Bobcats, who lead the country in turnover margin, didn’t win the turnover battle; they tied the Jaguars in the category with 17.
“When you give up 26 points in the first quarter, you’re really digging yourself a hole that’s going to be hard to come out of regardless,” junior Kendall Jessing said. “That’s definitely something that needs to change now that we’re in December basketball.”
As Jessing fielded questions, she talked of how the Bobcats prepared for the Jaguars’ pressure.
She emphasized that the Jaguars came ready, and the Bobcats simply didn’t have the same tenacity.
“We were caught flat, and that can’t happen,” Jessing said.
While the Bobcats were down by 17 at the end of the first, they won the second quarter — the only quarter that Boldon was content with.
His team started playing better defensively, holding IUPUI scoreless in the second quarter until the 4:48 mark. The Bobcats also didn’t allow the Jaguars to tally an offensive rebound in the quarter after giving up seven in the first quarter. As Ohio entered halftime down 35-28, it was starting to gain momentum.
But as the third quarter commenced, the Bobcats finished it without having a defining run. The closest they were in the quarter was at the 8:29 mark, when they were down 38-33. From there, the Jaguars had at least a seven-point lead the rest of the game.
Still, looking back at the game, Boldon knows the Bobcats’ second quarter was a bright spot.
“We’re capable of it,” Boldon said. “That’s my job to create more quarters like the second quarter. And that will be our challenge moving forward.”
Ohio (4-2) will play Cleveland State (5-2) on the road Wednesday at 11 a.m.