November 19, 2007

M. Baskeball Downed by Ohio

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They’re not exactly the twin towers, but Ohio’s frontcourt tandem of Leon Williams and Jerome Tillman scored 49 of the Bobcats’ 102 points, and pulled down 23 of the team’s 39 rebounds in the team’s 102-89 win over Cornell Saturday night.
“I just think our guys down low were having a hard time handling them, which is understandable,” said junior guard Adam Gore, who finished with 12 points and a couple of steals. “They were both physical and athletic and I think us guards didn’t do a good enough job of getting down there and helping out blocking out and rebounding as well as the big men.”
As the game moved into the bulk of the second half, though, it looked like the frontcourt duo’s bloated stat sheet wouldn’t matter as the Red jumped out to a 68-60 lead on the strength of back-to-back 3s. Senior forward Jason Hartford rotated out from his post-position and nailed two 3s that sandwiched a 3 by sophomore guard Ryan Wittman, who had 17 points.
“I think for the majority of the game we were moving the ball pretty well,” Gore said.
Hartford was one of the main beneficiaries of the Red’s ball movement. Dribble penetration from Gore, junior Collin Robinson and sophomore Louis Dale led to Hartford buckets — both behind the arc and in the paint. Dale finished with a team-high nine assists to complement 11 points, but Hartford had a team-high 18 points and five boards, shooting four-of-six from long range.
“Jason actually got the majority of his points from outside of the paint,” Gore said. “We need to make sure we get everybody involved and it’s not just the guards putting up shots. I think the big men down low are working hard and we need to make sure we get them involved in the offense. If we get the ball moving a little more, we’ll get a lot more open shots that way. I think we did a pretty good job at that the majority of the game.”
Up eight with just over 14 minutes to go in the game, the tide turned, though. The Bobcats’ Leon Williams grabbed an offensive board — an area that has plagued the Red this season — and put the shot back while drawing the foul. He tacked on the extra point and Ohio was on its way to an eight-point run to tie the game.
A few plays later, the Bobcats took the lead and never looked back, reeling off a 19-3 streak that included two put-backs on missed shots, and another and-one from Williams, who finished with 28 points and 15 boards.
“As a team we didn’t do a good enough job [rebounding],” Gore said. “It wasn’t the guards alone or the big men alone. The big men need to do a better job blocking out and we as guards need to do a better job blocking out getting in there and helping out. It was just a team effort of not doing a great job on the boards.”
In total, Cornell was out-rebounded 39-33, but that discrepancy was largely due to the disparity on the offensive glass where Ohio pulled down 15 boards to Cornell’s 10. That led to 25 second-chance points for the Bobcats’ — 18 of which came in the second half. The Red only had nine second-chance points — four of which came in the second half.
“They made a run on us and once they made that run we kind of panicked,” Gore said. “I think once that happened, we stopped moving the ball as much as we should have and we were kind of forcing shots. That kind of attributes to our decrease in field goal percentage [From 61.3 percent in the first half to 37.5 percent in the second half]. We were taking a lot harder shots and just not moving the ball as well as we were at the beginning of the game.”
The first half saw the two squads trade leads a few times, with Cornell leading 46-43, heading into the locker room. The Red stayed even in most of the categories that would be its downfall in the second half. The Bobcats’ only held a 22-20 advantage in points in the paint, a difference that would grow to 42-28 by the end of the night.
One area Cornell wasn’t close, however, was in points off turnovers. Ohio had capitalized on Cornell errors to the tune of nine points while the Red only got one basket off a miscue. For the game, the Bobcat’s had 23 points off 17 Red turnovers, while Cornell had nine points off only eight Ohio turnovers.
Only eight of Cornell’s turnovers came before six minutes had ticked away in the second half, though. Just like the Lehigh game — where the Red turned a 15-point lead into a four-point win — the turnovers started to come more frequently after getting ahead.
“We’re still a fairly young team,” Gore said. “I think when we get up on teams, we have to realize that the other team is going to make runs. You get up by 10, and they get it within two or four, we seem to panic. That’s something we need to work on. Good teams should be able to take that run and extend that lead again and we haven’t been able to do that. We managed to win the first one [against Lehigh], but we didn’t do a good job of reacting to their run when they made it.”