TOLEDO — Bob Boldon huddled his team at the bench before the fourth quarter began.
Ohio had survived a 11-0 third quarter Toledo run and cut the lead to two at the end of the quarter. A second Toledo run, though, was what spelled trouble for the Bobcats, as they gave up a 12-2 run to begin the fourth quarter and fell 75-57 Wednesday night in Savage Arena.
“I don’t think we responded well (to the run),” Boldon said. “I guess we have to look as a staff as what we’re saying at halftime and to start those quarters to make sure we’re putting our kids in a position to be successful. Obviously, we didn’t.”
The Bobcats defeated the Rockets earlier this season but could not complete the season sweep.
Toledo’s 12-2 run began just eight seconds into the fourth quarter with a layup. Amani Burke then missed a layup on the other end, and the Rockets added a score. More missed shots by Ohio led to another Toledo layup, then a 3-pointer.
By the time the Bobcats (8-7, 2-2 Mid-American Conference) had an opportunity to recover from the Rockets' run, it was too late; Toledo (11-5, 2-2 MAC) was in command with a 56-44 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
“Toledo played harder than we did,” Boldon said.
Getting defeated on the road is not a strange feeling for the Bobcats; they’ve struggled away from The Convo all season. They went 0-2 at the West Palm Invitational; they were defeated soundly by Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Savage Arena was not kind to the Bobcats, either.
The road games haven’t been a strong point for Ohio, and it doesn’t get any easier. The Bobcats’ next game will be at Western Michigan. The road MAC games are just beginning.
“We’ve got some kids that need to figure out how to prepare for games on the road,” Boldon said. “It’s a grind.”
When asked about Toledo being tough to play in its home gym, Boldon gave a simple explanation: “Well, they’re good.”
And the Rockets — the reigning MAC Tournament champions — showed how good they are when they outscored Ohio 31-15 in the fourth quarter. The 12-2 run provided the Rockets the cushion they needed to avoid a fourth straight season sweep at the hands of the Bobcats.
Ohio scrapped its way back in the third quarter but couldn’t do the same in the fourth.
Boldon didn’t want any excuses: playing on the road, Toledo having a loud audience or the four-hour bus ride.
“These guys are hard to play against because they’re good at basketball.”