For three weeks, Ohio was forced to halt basketball operations due to COVID-19. This meant no practice, no conditioning and little, if any, face-to-face interactions. Ohio had to face Akron, a team near the top of the Mid-American Conference, in its first game back in The Convo.
The lack of practice didn’t stop Ohio from running roughshod over the Zips 90-73 in The Convo on Tuesday.
Here are some instant reactions from Ohio’s 90-73:
A win over Akron under normal circumstances is significant. A win under Ohio’s situation is gigantic. The Bobcats haven’t played a game since Feb. 2, and two of their starters were still out against the Zips.
Akron was the second-best team in the MAC and on a four-game win streak coming into Tuesday. Defeating a behemoth like Akron on little practice and no games is a monumental win for Ohio.
Little practice, big performance
If the Bobcats hadn’t been able to practice together during quarantine, it didn’t show. If anything, Akron seemed like the team out of practice. By halftime, Ohio led Akron by nine points and was 7-for-10 on 3-point attempts.
Ohio had been out of practice for three weeks and knew its first opponent out of quarantine was among the best teams in the MAC. Jeff Boals has told his players that no one cares how long a team has been off this late into the season.
Missing two starters
Boals had said during his Monday press conference that Ohio’s roster wouldn’t be at full strength until its Saturday game against Buffalo at the earliest. Boals, however, didn’t specify which players might be absent against the Zips.
As it turns out, those sitting out were two of Ohio’s biggest scorers. Jason Preston and Dwight Wilson III, while able to sit on the bench with the rest of the Bobcats, did not dress for the game. Alongside the pair of starters was Sam Towns, who also did not dress for the game. It is still unknown how long both Wilson and Preston will be out for, but Ohio will need to adapt without them for the time being.