Ohio began the night by doing what it does best: knocking down 3-pointers. From there, the Bobcats used their balanced scoring attack to extend leads over Akron for nearly the entire second half.
Ohio hit 14 3-pointers, including eight in its red-hot first half, and Erica Johnson finished with 22 points in the Bobcats’ 92-70 win over the Zips on Wednesday night in The Convo.
“I thought, both offensively and defensively, we really set the tone,” coach Bob Boldon said about the first half.
The Bobcats (19-2, 8-2 Mid-American Conference) opened the game with a 28-13 first quarter lead, and they shot especially well in that quarter. They had five 3s in the first quarter alone and enjoyed the comfort of a big lead early on.
But Akron (12-8, 3-6 MAC) never rolled over. The Zips kept the game within reach, and they cut the lead to as little as 11 in the third quarter behind a strong night from Alyssa Clay, who had 25 points and posted a 5-of-7 mark from beyond the arc.
When it seemed like the Bobcats were going to find themselves in a close game, though, an 11-0 run gave them a 22-point cushion.
Although they gave up 70 points, the Bobcats forced 17 turnovers to keep Akron at bay. Defensively, Ohio hasn’t been the strongest team in the MAC, but it was able to make plays when needed.
“Our defense is good at points,” sophomore forward Gabby Burris said. “We don’t have great defense all the time, but when we do and we’re pressuring the ball, it forces an easy turnover.”
Akron, now losers in five of its last six, stayed within a reasonable margin but could never fully stop an Ohio offense that ranks in the top 10 nationally in points per game. Ohio has five players averaging double digits, and its offense is a burden for defenses.
Just when the Zips cut the lead to 10 in the fourth quarter, Johnson, Burris and Amani Burke all nailed 3s to extend the lead to 17 and put the game away with under eight minutes to play.
“We’re all capable of knocking it down,” Johnson said.
Burris has been battling an injury, but she finally seemed to be herself again on the floor. She finished with 21 points in the win.
The Bobcats finished their three-game homestand with a 2-1 record before they travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, on Saturday to take on one of the best teams in the MAC — and one of the two teams to beat Ohio this season — Central Michigan.
The two-game winning streak Ohio is on after its loss to Miami is cause to be optimistic for the trip north to Central Michigan and the game at Toledo next week.
- Erica Johnson had 11 rebounds to complement her 22-point night.
- The Bobcats shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc.
- Ohio has now won two straight games over Akron. The Bobcats defeated the Zips in last season’s MAC Tournament after losing on the final day of the regular season to Akron.
- Ohio had 14 offensive rebounds, nine of which came in the first half.