Ohio runs past men's basketball in 82-63 win, CMU loses seventh-straight

Freshman guard Derrick Richardson Jr tries to dribble past Ohio guard D.J. Cooper during the second half Wednesday night at McGuirk Arena. Central lost 82-63. Kaitlin Thoresen/Staff Photographer

There are 329 men’s basketball teams that are better than Central Michigan at causing missed baskets on defense.

The Chippewas continued to play as a team that is ranked 330th in field goal percentage defense when it lost 82-63 to Ohio at McGuirk Arena Wednesday.

In their seventh-straight loss, they allowed the Bobcats to shoot 51.7 percent from the field and make 10 of 21 three-pointers.

“I think tonight, the 51 percent is a little misleading, in that, when you look at their scoring, they had 19 points off of turnovers and 14 off of fast break,” said head coach Keno Davis. “If you take those out of there, the whole game is changed. I thought our defense, in the half-court, was much improved, but our transition defense was not. “

Ohio senior forward Reggie Keely started the game with a dunk in transition and caused problems with his 6-foot-9 frame, scoring 14 points.

CMU looked like a new-and-improved defense at the start of the game, causing six turnovers in the first four in a half minutes of the game.

But, the Bobcats got into a rhythm and the Chippewas did not take advantage offensively when the defense was having success.

They missed their first five three-pointers and Ohio senior forward Ivo Baltic accounted for the last lead change of the game, about midway through the first half, with four-straight points, making it 19-15.

Bobcats senior guard Walter Offutt led Ohio with 17 points, after scoring 13 points in the first half, by making his first five shots, three coming from beyond the arc, to give his team the 35-31 lead at halftime.

Bobcats junior guard Ricardo Johnson broke the game open with a three-pointer to make it 54-45 about seven minutes into the second half, starting a 17-4 run.

“They ran to their right spots,” said freshman guard Chris Fowler. “They had good spacing on the basketball court. Everybody ran hard to their spots. And they made the extra pass.”

The only battle won by CMU on the floor was between the point guards, despite facing off against Ohio’s senior guard D.J. Cooper, a Cousy Award finalist.

While Cooper had 8 points, three assists, and four turnovers, senior guard Kyle Randall had 28 points, one assist and three turnovers.

“I’ve read about (Cooper), I’ve heard about him, I definitely watched him play in last year’s NCAA Tournament,” Randall said. “There was nothing going on between us before the game … but, he’s a great player, leads the conference in assists. But, we got a great passer on our team too,” he said as he pointed to Fowler, who had 10 points, seven assists and three turnovers.

Randall, Fowler and the rest of the Chippewas are back in McGuirk Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday against Toledo.


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