Jason Carter’s performance Monday night will be paramount to Ohio’s success.
Somehow in the last two weeks, the Carter led Bobcats have begun to click. Wins have come off of strong shooting performances and stingy defensive outings. No. 10 seed Ohio will now play at No. 7 seed Northern Illinois on Monday night in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
This wasn’t supposed the way the season was supposed to end.
Carter was supposed to play and fight hard for his coach Saul Phillips’ future, but not much was supposed to come of it. Especially not after a six-game losing streak and one of the worst losses in program history.
After Friday night, it seems that he didn’t feel like sticking with the script.
Against the Bobcats’ arch-rival, Carter scored a career-high 26 points, pushing and shoving his way to the basket time after time. He pulled down five rebounds, but it was what the win meant that mattered most — closing out the regular season with a win in The Convo.
“We don’t want to stop there. We want to win a MAC Championship,” Carter said. “We’ve have talked about it ever since I got here, to win one together. That’s still the goal.”
Now, he’ll have to play well to help the Bobcats’ season going another day.
Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN+.
Opponent: Northern Illinois
Game time: 9 p.m. EDT
Venue: NIU Convocation Center (DeKalb, Illinois)
Watch: ESPN+/WatchESPN App
Listen: Ohio IMG Sports Network
Meet the opponent
00 Dante Thorpe (6-feet-4, 195)
04 Lacey James (6-feet-9, 240)
10 Eugene German (6-feet-0, 185)
22 Rod Henry-Hayes (6-feet-4, 185)
42 Levi Bradley (6-feet-7, 210)
05 Zaire Mateen (6-feet-0, 170)
12 Anastasios Demogerontas (6-feet-7, 215)
15 Jalen Key (6-feet-7, 215)
32 Austin Richie (6-feet-6, 225)
Individual Statistical Leaders:
Points: German (19.6)
Rebonds: James (7.1)
Assists: German (2.9)
Team Statistical Profile:
Points Per Game: 73.5
Rebounds Per Game: 35.1
Assists Per Game: 11.3
Turnovers Per Game: 12
Field goal Percentage: 46.5 percent
3-point Percentage: 34.9 percent
FT Percentage: 73.3 percent
Ohio is 35-20 all-time in the series versus Northern Illinois.
The Huskies swept the regular season series with the Bobcats, including an overtime win in The Convo and an 11-point win over the Bobcats in DeKalb. The Bobcats had won four straight before that.
Ohio beat NIU in the 2016 MAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
Saul Phillips is 4-4 against Huskies head coach Mark Montgomery.
Key player to watch
German — The junior guard is one of the most prolific scorers in the MAC. He shoots 40.2 percent from 3-point range, and he averages 19.6 points per game. His presence on the court will give the Bobcats fits, as it has all season. German has to be accounted for at all times, and if he’s not, it’ll be a long night for Ohio.