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Men’s Basketball Column: Ohio is playing its best basketball of the season

Ohio knew that the start of its Mid-American Conference schedule would be tough. The team had to take on the likes of Toledo, Bowling Green and Western Michigan in three of its first four games. All three teams now hold winning records in the conference with about 9 games left. 

During the opening 4 games of MAC play, Ohio finished with a record of 1-3. From the outside doubts began to arise regarding the team's ability to compete in a basketball conference that was flourishing with talent. 

Since this moment of doubt, Ohio has played its best basketball of the season, winning four of its last five games. Ohio’s only loss came at the hands of Akron, who is currently tied for the lead in the MAC with an 8-1 conference record. Ohio’s best win during this stretch was against Central Michigan, which currently ranks third in the conference with a 7-2 record. 

Ohio has not only been tallying wins in the conference, it has been dominating teams and looking like a cohesive unit on both offense and defense. 

Three of the Bobcats’ last four wins have come by a margin of 12 or more points. 

It hasn’t been one particular player who has propelled the team to a handful of impressive victories but rather contributions from every player to create a winning environment. 

The culmination of the team’s success came against Buffalo on Tuesday night in The Convo when Ohio recorded its largest margin of victory so far this season by a final score of 91-70. 

The Bobcats’ win against the Bulls was thanks to five Ohio players recording 10 or more points. Jaylin Hunter, Ohio’s leading scorer entering the game, found a way to impact the game in a way that wasn’t scoring. While Hunter still tallied 10 of his own points, the senior guard led the team in both assists and rebounds. 

That’s what it’s been for Ohio’s players over this stretch, affecting the game in any way they can. Any time Ohio has a subpar shooting night, it makes up for it with a great defensive effort. 

Against Buffalo, the team put it all together. The team scored 91 points, more than it has against any other MAC school this season. The team also forced 12 turnovers on defense and scored 22 points off of those turnovers. 

For the first time all season, Ohio is playing as a complete team, and it’s doing so when it needs to most. After a slow start to the year overall, the team needed to find itself; it has done just that. 

“I mean, I’d say we had a rough start, and we learned from all of our mistakes, and it’s finally starting to show,” junior AJ Clayton said. “Our defense has taken five steps in the last three weeks. We talk about it all the time; it all starts with our defense. Once we start deafening, the offense gets going, too.”


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