Sunday, December 13, 2015

Ohio 76, Cleveland State 67: Bobcats’ second-half offensive firepower too much for Vikings

OU outscores CSU 40-33 in second half

By Tom Mieskoski

Cleveland State could not keep up with Ohio University's high-scoring offense.

OU, which came in averaging 82.1 points per game, shot 49 percent en route to a 76-67 non-conference victory in front of 3,261 fans at the Q.

The 67 points were a season-high for the Vikings (2-7), who are averaging 59.1 points a game.

OU (5-3) exploited its superior height to dominate the interior, building a 42-26 advantage in points in the paint, and a 37-32 edge in rebounding. They also held a 15-7 advantage in second chance points.
"We got to do a better job defensively," said Vikings head coach Gary Waters, whose squad dropped its fifth straight and six of the last seven. "They really exposed our interior. If you take that away [points in the paint], this is a completely different game. I got to figure it out. Even to the point where I may have to play some zone."

Junior Antonio Campbell scored 14 of his career-high 23 points in the second half to lead three Bobcats in double-figures. The 6-foot-10, 260-pound post player was 10-for-15 shooting.

OU also had quality games from freshmen Jordan Darvis with 15 points and sophomore Jaaron Simmons added 13 points and seven assists.

The Vikings (2-7) had 17 points a piece from junior Andre Yates and freshmen Rob Edwards, both were career-highs. They combined to shoot 14-of-26 from the field.

CSU's other three starters combined to score just eight points on 3-of-18 shooting.

"We got to have all four players come through for us," said Waters. "Until we get everybody on the same page (it's going to be difficult for us to win a game)."

Waters is looking for junior Demonte Flannigan and senior Vinny Zollo to be more consistent.

Flannigan, CSU's second leading scorer at 10.8 points, finished with six points and two rebounds in 16 minutes. The Villa Angelo-St. Joseph product made two of his first four shots to give CSU an early 7-4 lead, but made only two free throws the rest of the game.

Zollo, who was coming off his best game of the season - a 10 point, 11 assist effort against Kent State - finished with two points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes. He was 1-for-8 shooting.

Both Flannigan and Zollo played only six minutes each in the second half as Waters went to a smaller line-up with sophomore walk-on Tim Hasbargen playing the four.

Hasbargen had his best game of his career, finishing with a career-high in points (nine), rebounds (four) and minutes (13). The German native was a big reason why CSU held a 25-15 advantage in bench points.

CSU also had solid games off the bench from Jibri Blount (eight points) and Myles Hamilton (five points, four assists).

In the first 10 minutes of the game, CSU looked prime for an upset.

CSU made four of its first eight three-pointers and took an early 18-9 lead.

The Bobcats made 11 of its last 14 shots to take a 36-34 lead at the intermission.

"We played a good first half, but we didn't finish," said Waters, "I'm a believer that (that you have to win) the last five minutes before the half, the first five minutes of the second half and the last five minutes of the game."

OU won the first five minutes of the second half.

Dartis put on a shooting display in the first six minutes, knocking down three three-pointers as the Bobcats opened the half with a 15-4 run to take a 51-38 advantage to take control of the game,

"The first five minutes of the second half, we have not played well," said Waters. "We have to figure that portion out."

CSU made one last run, closing to 55-46, but the Bobcats responded with a 12-4 run to push the lead out to 17.

OU outscored the Vikings 40-33 in the second half, with more then half of their points coming in the paint (24).

The Q experiment: The first two games at the Q drew 3,671 fans for the Kent State game and 3,261 attended Saturday's game against OU. For the most part, the crowds have been dominated by followers of the two Mid-American Conference schools.

Waters was not thrilled about playing these two game at the home where the MAC holds its postseason tournament.

"Playing here at the Q was a great place for everyone, but it was not a homecourt advantage for us," said Waters. "We got to get that because we are giving away our homcourt advantage when we do this."

Next up: The Vikings will try to right the ship on Wednesday at Loyola of Chicago.

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