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Ohio guard Mark Sears (1) goes in for a layup against Northern Illinois on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. The Bobcats beat the Huskies 74-62 after leading for the majority of the game at the Convo.

Men's Basketball: Numbers to know from Ohio's loss to Northern Illinois

Ohio’s regular season schedule ended in another disappointment after it lost to Northern Illinois 58-57 in DeKalb, Illinois, on Friday night.

The Bobcats (23-8, 14-6 Mid-American Conference) fell into the same pitfalls that have tripped them up for weeks. A sleepy first half with limited offensive production sent it into a deficit at halftime. Although somewhat regrouped in the second half, the Bobcats feel short on a last-second 3-point attempt and dropped their final game of the regular season to the Huskies (9-21, 6-14 MAC).

Here are the numbers to know from Ohio’s loss to Northern Illinois:

21

As the final weeks of the regular season ticked down, it became clear that Ohio’s biggest problem has been its inability to perform in the first half. No matter the caliber of the opponent, the Bobcats lag after tipoff. 

Friday was no exception. The Bobcats scored just 21 points in the first half. They never led by more than two points and were bogged down by a quagmire of missed shots. The Bobcats were just 8-of-24 from the field before halftime, and they now have the fifth-worst field goal percentage in the MAC.

60

The Bobcats were held under 60 points for the sixth time this season and for the third time against a conference opponent. There have been nights when the Bobcats’ poor shooting has limited their scoring, but they’ve found ways to work around it. In their game against Western Michigan in early January, the Bobcats were held to under 60 points but won by double figures.

But the confidence that the Bobcats carried early in conference play is no longer there. They sleepwalked through the first half, and couldn’t wake up in time to salvage a win.

19

Like the rest of the Bobcats, Mark Sears struggled to find a groove in the first half. He only sank one field goal and turned the ball over three times before halftime.

He had to grind through a second-half slog, but the guard soon found a rhythm.

The final five minutes of the game belonged to Sears alone. He scored Ohio’s final 12 points by himself and brought it within range of edging out a win over Northern Illinois. He made a desperate 3-point attempt on Ohio’s final possession, but it clanged off the rim and Ohio was handed its third-straight loss. Sears ended the game with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

3

Despite the loss, Ohio has been locked in as the No. 3 seed in the MAC Tournament. 

Ohio may be able to pull itself together in the next week, although its recent schedule hasn’t inspired much confidence. It has lost four of its last five games, and two of the losses came against teams that failed to qualify for the postseason. 

The Bobcats have hit a rough patch at the worst time. An extended break ahead of the MAC Tournament may provide much needed rest, but the Bobcats need to find a solution to their problems before halftime. If they don't, their postseason may end as soon as it begins.

@thejackgleckler

jg011517@ohio.edu

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