Ohio has seldom struggled to knock down crucial shots in late-game situations throughout its recent five-game win streak in Mid-American Conference play. But as the final minutes ticked down in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats’ game against Miami on Wednesday, the Bobcats did something they haven’t done all season.
The Bobcats missed nearly all their shots in the final 10 minutes and suffered their lowest scoring quarter of the season in their 67-61 loss to the RedHawks in The Convo.
Ohio held the lead for 29 of the game’s first 36 minutes and appeared ready to snap its three-game losing skid to Miami, its biggest rival and the same team that ended its season a year ago in the MAC Tournament.
Then the offense disappeared. Ohio was just 1-for-14 from the field and drained only one layup and a free throw in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats couldn’t help but watch as shot-after-shot clanked off the rim to give the RedHawks an abundance of opportunities to steal the game.
Such an offensive drought would usually frustrate coach Bob Boldon, but he kept things loose and even chuckled when asked about the lack of scoring to end the game.
“Did you see (the offense) anywhere?” Boldon sarcastically asked. “I’ve never seen them go 1-of-14. Never in my life. It was weird. It was strange.”
Boldon shrugged. He simply had no answers for the offense.
The Bobcats’ late-game tempo was mostly unaffected — they attempted only four fewer shots in the fourth quarter than the third. The RedHawks (15-4, 5-2 MAC), who entered Wednesday with the No. 1 defense in the MAC, failed to block a shot in the fourth quarter and didn’t prohibit the Bobcats from finding quality shooting opportunities.
Ohio’s offense just went cold. The Bobcats (17-2, 6-2 MAC) missed seven layups and five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, each no less painful than the next, and any hopes of winning the game ended when Leah Purvis drained a 3-pointer that gave Miami a 65-61 lead with seconds left and silenced The Convo.
The window for a last-minute comeback was closed. Ohio’s sudden offensive cold spell, coupled with the confused and fatigued faces on its players after Purvis’ shot, confirmed it. The Bobcats had to painfully accept their second loss of the season.
“We just weren’t seeing the ball fall though the net,“ Erica Johnson said. “We weren’t playing as hard as we usually do. We were getting frustrated, and that can’t happen.”
Ohio will hope the offensive drought ends at tipoff of its next game against Ball State on Saturday at The Convo. The Bobcats are now second in the MAC East Division to Buffalo, and they will likely need another winning streak if they want to move back into first place.
“That was pretty deflating,” Boldon said. “You’re happy for those kids, but it sucks that it wasn’t on our team. That’s probably something (Purvis) will remember for a little while.”
Ohio, however, will want to spend no time remembering the fourth quarter.