Gavin Block sat back in his chair, searching for answers during his 6-minute press conference.
The senior leader of the Bobcats repeated the team sentiment with nearly every answer Tuesday night, sometimes sounding hollow in his thoughts.
He’s not alone, though. Most of the players and coaches who walked out of The Convo’s home locker room were trying to find words to describe Ohio’s performance in , in which the Bobcats squandered most of, if not all, momentum they built in .
“That’s just unacceptable the way that we played,” Block said. “It’s just something that you can’t come off playing that well and settle for just being OK with one win on Saturday and then come in here tonight and get kicked in the mouth.”
Block shouldered the blame on multiple fronts. That’s what a senior with his experience is supposed to do. He embraces his role as a team-first, vocal guy who does whatever he needs to do to help.
And as much as Block wants to make the issues Ohio had a team problem, he and coach Saul Phillips couldn’t help but be frustrated with point guard ’s play. Kirk was 4-of-22 from the field with 11 points. He simply wasn’t good enough.
“He has got to progress,” Phillips said. “He’s got to get better.”
But not all of those missed shots and poor plays are on Kirk. Ohio’s offense was stagnant during most of the first half, and it didn’t show much improvement in the second. Kent State double-teamed Kirk at times, and the other Bobcats didn’t move to get the ball out of Kirk’s hands. Kirk was forced into tough shots at the end of the shot clock on multiple possessions, too. Ball movement was nowhere to be found.
An offense that scored 70 points on the road 72 hours prior put up only 52 points on its home floor against a below-average Kent State defense.
The Bobcats were efficient with the basketball Saturday, moving it well and knocking down shots. But Tuesday was an entirely different narrative, one that makes Phillips scratch his head.
Outings like that can’t happen, especially at home in conference play.
“They didn’t play differently than they did their last couple games,” Phillips said of the Golden Flashes. “So to not be able to take what we worked on and translate it to the game, that’s frustrating. Now, obviously, they were quick and were able to push us away from the hoop a little bit, but our in-game adjusting to the way the game was being played did not materialize.”
And as Block sat and pondered where Ohio will go from here, he seemed confident that Tuesday was much more of an outlier than a normal occurrence.
With a road game next on the schedule, Ohio’s Mid-American Conference trajectory might take shape. If Kent State provided an outlier, Ohio could go on the road, beat Toledo and move to 2-3 in conference play. If not, the Bobcats might find themselves 1-4 with a lot of basketball left to play.
“Who cares what the past is?” Block said. “We’ve got to worry about what’s ahead of us.”