Ohio University (7-3) at Massachusetts (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mullins Center (9,493) -- Amherst, Massachusetts. Television: CBS 3 Now. Home Record: Ohio 7-1, UMass 1-1. Away Record: Ohio 0-2, UMass 2-0. Neutral Record: Ohio 0-0, UMass 2-2. Conference Record: Ohio 0-0, UMass 0-0. Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats will try to down an Atlantic 10 opponent for the third time this season when they storm the Mullins Center for a non-conference tilt with the Massachusetts Minutemen.
Jim Christian's Bobcats already earned home victories over Richmond (73-48) and St. Bonaventure (69-64) this season, but they are winless in two road games and coming off of a 50-49 loss to Winthrop. The setback to the Eagles dropped Ohio's record to 7-3 with three games after this one left before starting league play. Despite the undesired outcome, Ohio has been impressive overall this season, averaging 71.7 points per game, which is 11 more than its opponents are producing.
UMass picked up its third win in four games on Saturday by defeating Elon by five points at home. Derek Kellogg's Minutemen are now 5-3 after journeying through a treacherous schedule that included Providence, NC State, Tennessee, and Miami-Florida. UMass is scoring 70.6 ppg despite being held to 39.4 percent shooting from the field including a 28.2 percent clip from 3-point range. Its opposition is generating 74.1 ppg on 42 percent field goal shooting.
This is just the second meeting in history between these schools. UMass won the first encounter in 1975. The Minutemen are required to play four MAC schools each season to participate in the league as a football only member.
The Bobcats looked good to start their bout with Winthrop and took a five- point lead into halftime, but they went ice cold after the break with just 24 points on 7-of-26 shooting from the field. Ohio also finished the game with 18 turnovers and converted only 7-of-13 attempts at the charity stripe after not attempting a single foul shot in the opening 20 minutes. Reggie Keely came off the bench to lead the squad with 15 points while star point guard D.J. Cooper was held to eight on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.
Cooper is leading the MAC in steals (18) to go along with his team-high averages of 14 points and 7.1 assists per game. Walter Offutt (11.1 ppg) and Nick Kellogg (9.6 ppg) join Cooper to make a very talented backcourt, but none of Ohio's big men are scoring in double figures through 10 games.
The Minutemen could not distance themselves enough from Elon after going 3- of-18 from behind the three-point line in regulation. The Phoenix overcame a nine- point deficit in the second half to force overtime. UMass picked up in the extra session and converted 2-of-3 from the field while adding eight points at the foul line to win by five. Terrell Vinson tallied a team-high 22 points and Sampson Carter registered a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Point guard Chaz Williams had a solid game with 20 points and nine assists.
Williams is a big time player for UMass with 16.3 points, seven assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game. Jesse Morgan (13.8 ppg) and Vinson (13.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are also scoring in double figures.
This matchup will provide a head-to-head matchup between two very skilled floor generals. The Bobcats will be hungry for their first road win of the season, but they will need to cut down on their turnovers to achieve their goal.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 75, Massachusetts 71
12/19 10:39:21 ET