Ohio University Uses Second Half Surge To Post Season-Opening 88-69 Win Over Delaware
November 13, 2010
Photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University broke open a close game at the break and went on to defeat the University of Delaware men’s basketball team, 88-69, in both teams’ 2010-11 season openers Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats (0-1), last season’s Mid-American Conference champion who defeated Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, won for the 14th time in their last 15 home openers, including each of the last seven. Ohio is now 74-12 at the Convocation Center since the beginning of the 2004-05 season and improved to 14-1 in non-conference home games under third-year head coach John Groce.
Delaware (0-1), which dropped its season opener for the fifth consecutive season, was led by freshman guard Devon Saddler, who scored 19 points and dished out seven assists in his Blue Hen debut. Sophomore forward Jamelle Hagins (at right) led the Blue Hens inside by scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to post his third career double-double.
Fellow sophomore Josh Brinkley came off the bench to score 12 points while Alphonso Dawson added 11, all in the first half, for the Blue Hens. Delaware, which got just six points from Preseason All-CAA Second Team selection Jawan Carter, was undermined by 19 turnovers and 11 missed free throws.
D.J. Cooper, the 2010 MAC Freshman of the Year and a member of this year’s MAC Preseason All-Conference Team, scored a game-high 25 points while handing out seven assists for the Bobcats. Reggie Keely added a career-high 19 points to go with 11 rebounds, while Ivo Baltic contributed 14 points.
The first half was an extremely close, as neither team led by more than four points the entire period. Dawson’s second three-pointer of the stanza put the Blue Hens in front 22-21, but a three-pointer by Cooper and a fast break basket by T.J. Hall gave the Bobcats a 27-24 advantage with four minutes to play.
However Hakim McCullar drained two free throws and Dawson scored to put UD back in front. Cooper countered for Ohio, but Saddler found Brinkley inside for a reverse layup and then converted a three-point play of his own to give Delaware a 33-29 edge with 2:08 remaining. However Ohio closed the half with a six-point run, as after Keely and Cooper each hit one foul shot, Cooper converted a three-point play to give the Bobcats a slim 35-33 lead at the break.
Ohio opened the second half with a quick 6-3 spurt which included dunks by Baltic and Keely, taking a 41-36 advantage with 18:43 to play.
Two free throws by Hagins made it a 45-40 game, but Keely converted two three-point plays during a 10-0 Bobcats run as Ohio extended its lead to 55-40 with 15:21 left. Brinkley countered with a pair of baskets after a 2:15 Delaware scoreless stretch but the Hens could not stop Ohio at the other end, and a layup by Cooper made it a 63-46 game with 12:16 to go.
Kelvin McNeil scored inside as the Blue Hens cut the lead to 65-52 with 10 and a half minutes to play, but Ohio scored the next six points and was not threatened from there.
After the Blue Hens limited Ohio to 37 percent shooting in the opening half, the Bobcats connected on 22 of 39 shots in the second period to pull away. Ohio also held a commanding 47-34 advantage on the boards.
“We didn’t play particularly well in the first half and only trailed by two points at halftime,” fifth-year Blue Hen head coach Monté Ross said. “But in the second half we turned it over a couple times and they converted to push the lead to seven, and that gave them momentum. When you go on the road you have to take care of the basketball and make free throws, and we didn’t go either of those things well enough today.”
Both teams were playing without an expected member of the starting lineup, as Blue Hen point guard Brian Johnson is still recovering from a torn meniscus while Ohio forward DeVaughn Washington missed the game due to a violation of team rules.
Delaware returns to action on Wednesday when the Blue Hens travel to Ithaca, N.Y. to face Cornell at 7 p.m.Back To Men's Basketball Home Men's Basketball Story Archive