Correction: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated the impact of Ohio’s loss to Buffalo on Wednesday night. The article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information.
Ohio welcomed Buffalo to The Convo on Wednesday night for a crucial Mid-American Conference matchup.
The Bobcats had the opportunity to clinch first round bye if they won, but instead fell to to Buffalo 73-43.
How it happened
From the start, Ohio (22-4, 11-4 MAC) struggled against Buffalo’s defense. Ohio’s leading scorer, Cece Hooks, was held scoreless in the first half and got stuck in foul trouble. The Bobcats couldn’t contain Buffalo’s Cierra Dillard, and the Bulls quickly mounted a double-digit lead.
Down early and with its best scorer on the bench, Ohio panicked. The Bobcats shot ill-advised 3-pointers with hopes of possibly entering the half with a single-digit deficit, but Buffalo’s (18-8,10-5 MAC) defense was too good.
After shooting 25 percent from the field in the first half, Ohio entered halftime trailing 42-23.
Ohio entered the second half with hopes of clawing into its deficit, but the same problems from the first half carried over.
The Bobcats didn’t take care of the basketball; when they did, they couldn’t put it through the hoop. Hooks and point guard Erica Johnson were unable to muster a helpful offense effort, while Dillard continued to rack up points at the other end.
Heading into the fourth quarter down 26, Ohio had no chance of coming back. The Bobcats put in their reserves and coasted to defeat.
Who stood out?
Buffalo’s Cierra Dillard proved why she’s not only one of the best players in the MAC but in the entire country as well. The nation’s third leading scorer (•24.9 points per game) torched the Bobcats for 35 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Her ability to take her defender on and find her teammates open shots kept Ohio off balance and out of position the entire night. Dillard’s dominant night was topped off by surpassing the 2,000 point mark for her career.
What does this mean?
The loss hurts Ohio’s chances of securing the MAC regular season title. Ohio’s game against Miami in Oxford on March 6 will be crucial for the standings heading into the MAC Tournament.
Ohio will look to bounce back from its fourth loss of the season when it travels to Akron on Saturday. Tip off is set for 5 p.m.