Once again, Ohio’s troubles on the road resurfaced. The Bobcats were tripping over themselves in their 95-78 loss to Toledo on Friday night, the result of foul trouble and the aggressive Rockets defense.
Here are the numbers to know from Ohio’s 95-78 loss to Toledo:
Ohio (6-5, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) was hounded by Toledo’s defense from tipoff, and its
inability to adapt only dug Ohio’s hole deeper. 10 turnovers in the first half alone gave the Rockets the edge it needed to bury Ohio early and pile on from there. Those 10 turnovers were double what Ohio gave up in the second half, and it was the weak spot that the Rockets were able to exploit.
Toledo’s defense allows the third-fewest points per game and has the second-best assist-turnover ratio in the MAC. The Rockets know how to exploit mistakes, and Ohio paid the price for it.
Mark Sears, in his fourth start for the Bobcats, is still going strong. The freshman has impressed coach Jeff Boals, who had expected him to fill Jason Preston’s role as point guard well, but has exceeded expectations. Sears’ 20 points against the Rockets were not only the most from an Ohio player on Friday, but also his season high.
Sears also went 6/8 on field goal attempts, 2/3 on 3-pointers and 6/6 on free throw attempts.
Both teams began the game with a pair of 3s, but Ohio fell behind and failed to find the success Toledo had shooting beyond the line. By halftime, Toledo had gone 9/15 when shooting beyond the line. While the Rockets’ accuracy dropped off in the second half, Ohio improved ever-so-slightly and ended the game 9/27 behind the arc.
It was one problem after the other for Ohio. While the first half was hampered by turnovers, any hope to comeback after halftime was derailed by penalties. Sears racked up back-to-back fouls early in the half, pushing him up to four total. Coach Jeff Boals subsequently took the freshman off the court. Lunden McDay followed soon after. While both returned by the 10-minute mark, not having either player in hurt Ohio’s capacity to respond to Toledo’s growing lead.
14 of Ohio’s 19 personal fouls came from its starting five, with Sears, McDay and Ben Vander Plas all receiving four, and Ben Roderick earning three.
Friday was the second-worst loss Ohio has experienced this season, second only to it’s 90-70 loss to Akron on Dec. 22. The Bobcats are struggling against its strongest MAC opponents, and the path to the upper echelons of the conference are just out of reach. Sometimes a team has to take a hard loss to improve, and Ohio can use Friday as motivation against MAC opponents.
Against easier opponents like Miami and Kent State, who sit at the bottom of the MAC East, Ohio can round out the edges of its game and ease its way back into its tougher opponents that will return in early February.
The question remains how many more hard losses are in store for Ohio.