Ohio had a chance to show it could separate itself from the bottom of the Mid-American Conference if it could muster a win against Toledo on Tuesday night in The Convo. The Rockets boasted one of the top offenses in the MAC, and a win would’ve brought the Bobcats to a .500 conference record and proved that its young roster could stack up against the more seasoned rosters in the conference.

Instead, Ohio fell 83-74 to Toledo and failed to overcome the same struggles that come with its roster full of youth. Their only two conference wins have come against Eastern Michigan, who’s yet to win a MAC contest, and Tuesday’s loss suggests the trend won’t change soon.

The Bobcats suffered another alarmingly slow start to open the game. The first five minutes included a 1-for-11 shooting stretch with five turnovers, and Ohio struggled to finish shots beneath the rim and make easy layups. 

Ohio improved its shooting in the second half, but it didn’t matter. Toledo boasted the conference’s top shooter in Marreon Jackson — he’s why the Rockets entered Tuesday with the fourth-ranked offense in the MAC — and Ohio had no solution to stopping him.

Jackson finished with 29 points and had 22 points by the 10-minute mark of the second half. His ability to pound the net from anywhere on the court meant that the Bobcats’ improved second half, where they shot 51 percent, was irrelevant. Not many defenses have stopped Jackson this season, and the Bobcats were no exception.

Ohio won’t face any easier challenges in the future. The Bobcats are set to play Akron (4-1 MAC), Northern Illinois (2-3 MAC) and Ball State (4-1 MAC) in their next three games. Neither of those opponents appear to be any less potent than Toledo.

It’s the start Ohio (10-9, 2-4 MAC) was expected to have with a new coach and a plethora of young players. The Bobcats have plenty of promising talent, but after Tuesday’s loss, that appears to be all they have.