TOLEDO, Ohio– The Ohio men's basketball team (9-8, 1-4 MAC) would be unable to overcome a slow start in the first half, falling on the road to Toledo (15-3, 3-2 MAC), 75-52, Friday night (Jan. 18), inside Savage Arena.
"We got completely blown up on screen and rolls," fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips said. "We actually got that fixed and started cutting into the lead. You can't survive that start very often and it was disappointing. Antonio (Cowart, Jr.) has been so good defensively, but Jaelan (Sanford) got him a little bit, particularly early. It wasn't just him. Our edges were late and they're dribble penetration set everything up and their shooters got open and we didn't do a very good job against their screen and roll."
Senior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) led the Bobcats with 12 points, going 4-of-8 form the field and 2-of-6 from three-point range. Redshirt sophomore Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) was next, scoring eight points, followed by sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.), who scored seven points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
The Rockets would open the game on a 7-0 run before senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) would get the Bobcats on the board with a jumper. Toledo would then go up 23-5 with 11:40 left in the half before redshirt sophomore Connor Murrell (Sioux City, Iowa) would get a jumper for the Bobcats. Carter would then hit back-to-back threes for Ohio, cutting the Rockets lead to 33-13.
Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.), redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) and Murrell would then all hit threes for the Bobcats, cutting the Toledo lead to 37-22. Redshirt junior guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.) would then get the final five points of the half for the Bobcats, collecting a steal and a layup and draining a three-pointer to cut the Toledo lead to 41-27 at the half.
At the half, Ohio shot 35.0 percent from the field, 43.0 percent from three-point range and 60.0 percent from the free throw line, while Toledo shot 53.0 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from three-point range and went 1-for-1 from the free throw line. The Rockets out-rebounded the Bobcats 20-12 and dished out 11 assists to Ohio's four. However, the Bobcats registered four steals to Toledo's two, with both teams registering five turnovers.
The Bobcats would open up the second half with the first points, a layup from Block to cut the Rockets' lead to 12. After a Kirk jumper, Block would drain a three, cutting the Toledo lead to 47-36 with 16:48 left. The with 14:32 left, Kirk would hit a free throw, cutting the Toledo lead to 10.
Toledo would the go on a 7-0 run before kirk connected on a layup to cut the score to 56-41. After Toledo would go up 20, Ohio would go on a 7-0 run to cut the Rockets' lead to 13 with 5:51 left. That would be as close as the Bobcats would get the remainder of the game, falling 75-52.
Overall, Ohio shot 32.2 percent from the field, 33.3 percent from three-point range and 56.6 percent from the free throw line, while Toledo shot 48.3 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from three-point range and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The Rockets out rebounded the Bobcats 39-32, while Toledo also dished out 20 assists to Ohio's 10 and registered 11 blocks and five steals to the Bobcats' three blocks and seven steals.
"We battled back and our offense at the beginning of the second half was terrific," Phillips said. "We had a stretch where we got a lot of really good looks, and that's the way we have to look offensively, but consistently."
For Toledo, Luke Knapke scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Marreon Jackson and Jaelan Sanford both scored 14 points and dished out five assists.
Up next, the Bobcats return to Athens for the first of two-straight home games when they take on Western Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.