Taylor Agler said Ohio wouldn’t be afraid to play Central Michigan again.
But then the Bobcats lost to the Chippewas 70-64 Wednesday night, and it was their second loss of the season against perhaps the best team in the Mid-American Conference.
Ohio isn’t at the top of the MAC anymore, but now it has another problem to worry about: controlling the MAC East Division.
Ohio will play on the road Saturday at 2 p.m. against Kent State, which is one game behind Ohio for first place in the MAC East.
The Chippewas are the only team the Bobcats have lost to twice. Central Michigan is a good team, and its length and size cause problems for Ohio. Kent State, another solid team in the MAC, defeated Ohio 68-65 in The Convo on Jan. 14.
If the Bobcats (18-6, 9-4 in the MAC) lost to the Golden Flashes, they would have two or more losses against two MAC teams this season.
“Our games shouldn’t be that close,” Quiera Lampkins said after the Central Michigan game. “It comes down to us just having way too many breakdowns.”
When the Bobcats lose by a few points, it is usually because a string of plays were not made. Whether they didn’t communicate well on defense or didn’t make a play on offense, the Bobcats’ mental breakdowns are plentiful in close games.
That problem will need to be fixed, especially as the end of the regular season nears.
Ohio’s most important breakdown during its last meeting against Kent State (14-11, 8-5 MAC) was late-game foul trouble. The Bobcats’ two best players — Lampkins and Jasmine Weatherspoon — fouled out with under three minutes left in the game.
For Ohio to be in the best position to win against Kent State, it can’t make silly errors. The Bobcats committed 22 turnovers, whereas the Golden Flashes committed 15.
Perhaps the Bobcats can use what they learned during Wednesday’s loss. Despite playing good defense in the first quarter, they didn’t play well on that end for the rest of the game.
Defense has been the most consistent trait for the Bobcats this season, and perhaps it could reemerge Saturday.
“Thought we lost a little bit of focus, which is silly,” coach Bob Boldon said after the Central Michigan game.
It all goes back to focus and whether the Bobcats are mentally prepared to play teams of Central Michigan’s caliber.
The Golden Flashes aren’t as good as the Chippewas, but the two teams have one thing in common: they both seem to rattle the Bobcats, and for that, the Bobcats should be concerned.