Just five games into the Mid-American Conference schedule, Ohio already is faced with its first rematch of the year when it will travel to Ypsilanti, Michigan, to play Eastern Michigan.
The Bobcats defeated the Eagles previously on Jan. 7 in The Convo 74-68. Redshirt senior Jordan Dartis carried Ohio in its first MAC win of the season behind a 53% shooting mark from behind the arc. His eight 3-pointers and 26 total points led the Bobcats past the Eagles.
It was sluggish game to start for Ohio, but once it worked out the kinks of Eastern Michigan’s “elite” 2-3 zone, it opened up spots for Dartis to play his game.
Since then, the Bobcats have lost their last two conference games against Bowling Green and Buffalo. Both of their opponents scored 50 second-half points in games where Ohio held the lead at halftime.
In Ohio’s case, it looks to get back on track against a team they found a way to beat. Here’s a closer look at Eastern Michigan since the first meeting.
Game time: 1 p.m.
Venue: The Convocation Center (Ypsilanti, Michigan)
Listen: Ohio IMG Sports Network
Record: 0-2, 0-2 MAC
Overall record: 10-7, 0-4 MAC
Games: 71-68 loss at Northern Illinois; 69-52 loss against Ball State
The Eagles opened up their MAC West Division schedule with Northern Illinois and Ball State, both ending in losses.
Against the Huskies, Eastern Michigan scored 44 second-half points in an attempt to erase an 8-point halftime deficit, but the Huskies were able to hang on for the three-point win. Junior guard Noah Morgan led the Eagles with 16 points as a bench player.
In the 17-point loss to Ball State, the Eagles only scored 14 first half points compared to the Cardinals’ 32. Even though they scored 38 second-half points, it wasn’t enough to erase a porous first half. Morgan yet again led Eastern Michigan with 14 points.
How Ohio wins
Once the Bobcats’ young roster figured out how to cut through Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone, they seemed to had much more poise, control and confidence in their offensive game. Ohio will have to swing the ball around and move around at the top of the key as well as setting off-ball screens to open up shooting lanes for the likes of Dartis, Ben Vander Plas and others.
If it can do that, expect Ohio to earn its second MAC win of the season.