By the time the Zips (20-9, 12-2) went into the locker room at halftime down 46-27, their plan was to avoid what happened to them on Ohio’s court last year, when the Bobcats ran them out of the Convocation Center by 25 points.
The Bobcats played as if they were bound and determined to do the same this year.
Ohio’s mission was accomplished as the Bobcats (23-6, 10-4) jumped on the Zips early and had little intention of allowing them back into the game, beating them 85-61.
The pivotal moments came in the first half, when Ohio deflated UA quickly with two pivotal runs that set the Bobcats up for the eventual win.
An 8-1 offensive spurt greeted the Zips early on as the Bobcats used it to take a 19-8 lead with 10:51 left in the first half. But they were far from done.
Owning the offensive momentum, the Bobcats turned up their defense later in the half to virtually seal the deal.
Beginning at the 7:33 mark of the first half, Ohio began another run. Holding the Zips scoreless for the next three minutes, they outscored them 10-0 to take a 38-20 lead.
The Zips essentially gave the Bobcats the game, committing 13 turnovers in the first half. Although they cut that down to three in the second half, the damage was done.
Ohio’s defense played tenaciously for the entire game, holding the Zips to just 33 percent shooting as the team was unable to get into any semblance of offensive flow.
The Bobcats’ Nick Kellogg led all scorers with 17 points. Guard Brian Walsh led the Zips with 12 points.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://zips.ohio.com.