Ohio sophomore guard Amani Burke (#3) drives to the basket during the first half of the Bobcats’ 93-37 win over Notre Dame College on Nov. 16. (FILE)
TOLEDO – Coach Bob Boldon had a simple answer for why Ohio didn’t continue its momentum in the second half Wednesday night against Toledo.
“Toledo played harder than we did,” Boldon said.
While the Bobcats held the Rockets scoreless for over eight minutes in the second quarter, their defense didn’t play with the same intensity in the second half. The Rockets went on an 11-0 run to begin the third quarter and a 12-2 run to begin the fourth.
The intensity Ohio played with disappeared in the second half, and that lack of intensity was the main reason for the Bobcats’ 75-57 loss against the Rockets in Savage Arena.
The Bobcats played solid defense throughout, most notably in the second quarter, when they allowed the Rockets to score just six points. While the Bobcats succeeded in categories such as forcing turnovers and steals, they couldn’t beat the Rockets in the rebounding battle. The Bobcats had 24 rebounds — the Rockets had 53.
The Bobcats gave the Rockets enough chances to make shots, no matter how well they played on defense.
“(The Rockets’) shooting percentage is so high because they get to shoot twice every time they miss,” Boldon said. “It’s hard to keep a field goal percentage down when you’re giving second chances.”
The Bobcats had five offensive rebounds to the Rockets’ 17 and had only two second chance points compared to the Rockets’ 18. The last time Ohio played Toledo, which was just 11 days ago, it won 78-61.
In that game, the Bobcats tied the Rockets in the rebounding battle. Both teams had 37 rebounds. That was key for the Bobcats because of their lack of size. They’re ranked last in the Mid-American Conference in rebounds per game.
It’s something the Bobcats must fix. They’re 3-3 on the road, and they’ve lost two games at a neutral site, both coming during the West Palm Invitational. The Bobcats have been outrebounded in all their losses away from The Convo.
“It’s a process,” Boldon said. “We’ve got some kids that need to figure out how to prepare themselves for games on the road.”
Boldon said the hard part about playing on the road is the grind of traveling. The Bobcats (8-7, 2-2 MAC) are in conference play now, and they’ll play games Wednesdays and Saturdays for the rest of the season.
While Boldon said coming to Toledo was an easy trip, he acknowledged that heading up to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to play Western Michigan on Saturday will be difficult.
“We’re going to get home late tonight; we’re going to practice tomorrow,” Boldon said. “Then we’re going to get back on the bus on Friday and drive up to Kalamazoo, and it’s going to be a long, miserable trip.”
Athens is 349 miles from Kalamazoo, and the Bobcats have a 2 p.m. tipoff against the Broncos.
They didn’t play as hard on the road against the Rockets, but the Bobcats have a quick chance to remedy some of their woes when they’re away from The Convo.