Mens basketball loses tilt with Ohio

Sydney, Australia grad student Cameron Healy waits for the play to develop in the corner against Western, Thursday, Feb. 3, in McGuirk Arena. Healy finished the game with 23 points and 6 rebounds.

A couple of months ago this CMU team would not be seen as a tough matchup for Ohio. While the team has improved, its competition has too.

Though the Chippewas put up a fight, they were unable to complete the task at hand, they fell the Ohio Bobcats 81-72. CMU has yet to beat Ohio since in their last four meetings, one of those being their last appearance in the Mid-American Conference tournament.

“I’m not here for moral victories, I know this is a process of building this program,” said CMU head coach Tony Barbee. “Everybody on this team who’s healthy and playing, they are completely committed to plan how we have to play to win, which is tough, so we expect to win these games, not just play for moral victories.”

Ohio (20-4, 11-2) climb up the MAC standings as CMU (6-15, 5-5) fall to the middle of the pack.

With under 1:30 left in regulation the Chippewas found themselves down six. They stole the ball at half court and had three consecutive opportunities to get the game to a one game possession. They missed all three shots and were unable to pull any closer despite their effort on both sides of the ball.

“Cam didn’t get enough shots up, and we didn’t score enough points, but next game he’ll get shots up, everyone’s going to score more points, and we’ll lock up on defense,” said CMU freshman Kevin Miller.

Miller had a career night in the scoring department. He dropped 25 points on 7-of-21 shooting but scored 10 points from the charity stripe to go along with six assists and seven turnovers.

With nine minutes left in regulation the Bobcats found themselves in an early bonus situation. Fortunately for the Chippewas, they were only able to convert 17 free throws on a 65% clip.

Ohio more than made up for their woes at the line with their three-point shooting, they made 12 threes for 48% on the game, they made eight of those threes in the second half. 

Ohio star guard Mark Sears had another big night. He remained a more than reliable shooter getting 22 points on 66% from three, with five rebounds four assist and five turnovers. Bobcat forward Ben Vander Plas contributed 24 points on 9-15 from the field and a team high six assists.

With four steals in the first five minutes of the game the Chippewas were able to stint the Bobcats on the offensive side. The defensive pressure gave them an advantage in the energy department. 

The Chippewas went into the locker room at halftime with a one-point lead. Their free throw shooting was perfect in the first going 8-8 while Ohio only had one attempt and missed that attempt.

Their shots from the charity stripe helped make up for their poor three-point performance, going 1-10 from deep in the first 20 minutes.

The second half was met with a lot of emotion on both sides. Ohio got lead back early, but just as CMU began to close the gap, a barrage of Bobcat three’s shot their lead up 50-40 with under 11 minutes remaining. This was the turning point in the game as Ohio had the intensity and energy that the Chippewas no longer had.

The Chippewas are back on the road to face in-state rival Western Michigan on Sat. at 7 p.m. at Read Fieldhouse in Kalamazoo, MI.