Ohio began its Mid-American Conference schedule over a month ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan, when it played Western Michigan. Between various injuries, ailments and illnesses, the Bobcats lost the contest, 77-65.
Now, with a recent blowout win under its belt, Ohio has a sense of confidence in its step and will look to split the season series against the Broncos on Tuesday night in The Convo.
Game time: 7 p.m.
Venue: The Convo
Listen: Ohio IMG Sports Network
Western Michigan since Game 1
Record: 3-6 MAC
Overall: 11-12, 4-6 MAC
Conference wins: 67-63 (Kent State), 64-60 (Miami) and 68-64 (Ball State)
Conference losses: 84-69 (Akron), 67-59 (Toledo), 85-82 (Bowling Green), 90-79 (Buffalo), 58-52 (Northern Illinois) and 85-78 (Central Michigan)
How Ohio wins
At media availability prior to Monday’s practice, coach Jeff Boals appeared confident in his young team and made note of how they are different from when they first played the Broncos back on Jan. 4.
He’s not wrong. The Bobcats were missing now-critical pieces in the line-up, particularly freshman Ben Roderick. Roderick, who missed the first game because of a broken hand, has shown some of the skill set that he’s been known to have as Boals’ top freshman recruit. Whether it’s moving the ball in transition and shooting an open 3-pointer or getting solid defensive minutes, there certainly has been visible growth in his game since he returned from injury.
Now, for Ohio to win, it simply has to make the open look they got the first time around. The Broncos opened the game on a 13-0 run before Ohio scored its first points of the game. The box score in the 12-point loss was not favorable for the Bobcats as they shot 33.8% from the field and 24.2% from beyond-the-arc.
If they can recreate some semblance of the performance they had against Miami, the Bobcats might earn their first win over a conference opponent who isn’t last in the standings.