By: Chris Saulnier
After revealing a banner honoring the team’s sweet sixteen appearance last March, Ohio University took the court against the Portland Pilots looking to begin their season with a win in a packed Convocation Center.
As the first half began, Ohio’s forward D.J. Cooper knocked down two three-point jumpers to keep the Bobcats neck-and-neck with Portland who capitalized on Ohio’s sloppy play early.
Following Cooper’s scores, the Bobcats went cold and were not able to score for another three minutes until Cooper found Reggie Keely on a fast break and Keely slammed the ball through the hoop to reignite Ohio’s offense.
Strong bench play from Nick Kellogg and the Bobcat’s ability to force turnovers combined to help Ohio comeback from an early deficit and tie the game 33-33 as the first half came to a close.
When the Bobcats returned from the locker room to start the second half, they looked like an entirely new team. Ivo Baltic, Nick Kellogg, and Walter Offutt all began to heat up providing a surge for Ohio on both sides of the ball.
Ohio’s defense shut down the Pilots in the second half as the Bobcats began rebounding, forcing turnovers, and drawing fouls. Portland only managed to score 19 points in the second half of the game while Ohio added 48 to their tally bringing the game to an 81-52 end in favor of Ohio.
D.J. Cooper led the way for Ohio by scoring 18 points, collecting five rebounds, dishing out six assists, as well as stealing the ball three times in the game. Forward, Ryan Nicholas came off the bench for Portland to lead them with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Reggie Keely, Ivo Baltic and Nick Kellogg all scored in double digits for the Bobcats. Kellogg matched Cooper with 18 points, Keely collected 13 of his own and Baltic added 10 points to the mix.
Ohio shot 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from three-point range, while Portland only shot 35 percent from the field and 29 percent from three-point range. Ohio forced 23 Pilot turnovers and the Bobcats only turned the ball over 12 times, a statistic that was key to the Bobcats victory.
Ohio’s next match-up will take place Friday, November 16, at home against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks at 7 p.m.