Mike Laster made a free throw and motioned to Antonio Campbell and Kenny Kaminski to “keep eating” — mimicking someone vigorously eating food from a plate. In today’s basketball world, it's common symbolism for a team’s dominance over another.
Dominance, though, is an understatement if trying to describe Ohio’s 89-58 win Tuesday night over Western Michigan in The Convo.
The Bobcats (9-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) were perfect. Ohio never trailed once in 40 minutes against Western Michigan. It’s 31-point win was the biggest differential this season.
“We weren’t perfect by any means, but I’ve seen this one coming for awhile,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said on the Ohio IMG Sports Network post-game show. “In practice, I kept telling our guys ‘brace for it’ because we’re going to have a night where it all clicks at once and it sure is fun.”
Ohio’s performance stemmed from its starters, who bombarded Western Michigan with 16 3-pointers. Campbell led all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-9 3-point shooting. He also tallied his sixth double-double this season, adding 12 rebounds.
All of the Bobcats’ starters had a plus/minus of 19 or higher.
“Today, I brought energy to the crowd, to the players and we came out and we played our hearts out,” Campbell said.
The Bobcats’ defense was also near perfect. During the first half, the Broncos committed more turnovers (10) than made shots (9-28) and was held scoreless for over six minutes.
In totality, the Broncos (4-9, 0-1 MAC) shot just 33 percent (20-60). Jaaron Simmons held one of the Mid-American Conference best scorers, Thomas Wilder, to just 4-of-13 shooting. Wilder led all Broncos with nine points.
Even Ohio’s Gavin Block, who only averages six points a game as a starter, got into the fun; dishing out eight assists including one that saw the 6-foot-7 sophomore drive into the key and perform a no-look pass to a streaking Doug Taylor.
“Gavin makes other people around him better,” Phillips said of Block’s three-point, eight-assist performance. “And even when he doesn’t necessarily get the assist, he might make the extra pass.”
From the start, Ohio couldn’t miss.
The Bobcats leaned on an 18-6 run in the first six minutes as Jordan Dartis, Kaminski, Simmons and Campbell hit 6-of-8 3-pointers. Dartis and Kaminski finished the game with 12 points, respectively. Simmons garnered 11 points and four assists. No one on Western Michigan’s roster finished with more than nine points.
“We let a couple games get away from us late because of our defense, but today we held our ground,” Campbell said. “We paid attention to the scouting report, paid attention to walkthrough and guys came out there and played their balls off and defended all over the court.”
From Western Michigan’s vantage point, almost nothing could be done.
The Broncos’ defensive sliding was inferior to Ohio’s passing. The Bobcats had 10 assists on 17 first-half makes. It would finish with 20 assists on 31 baskets.
The Bobcats brought their best against the Broncos, and it was one of their best wins thus far.
“But I think this one, we were more complete on both ends,” Phillips said.