Posted by: bobcatbasketball | March 10, 2010

Bobcats Look to Score Huge Upset

Kent State may boast the No. 1 seed and a 2-0 mark at the Convo, but the young players on the Ohio University men’s basketball team aren’t scared. “We believe we can play with any team in our league,” said MAC Freshman of the Year DJ Cooper. “They barely beat us the first time we played.”

It’s that attitude that has kept Ohio (18-14, 7-9 MAC) going through its ups and downs all season long. Most find it hard to define this season as positive or negative.

Some point to the three players suspended a total of six times for various reasons and the dismissal of freshman stud guard Jay Kinney, who was arrested for drug possession in February. Some point to the inconsistent play of the team throughout the season. In one month the team managed to lose at Miami by twelve points, then beat them by two points on a buzzer-beater at the Convo.

Others point to newcomers like DJ Cooper and Armon Bassett, who have given fans hope for the future of the program. Cooper won the MAC Freshman of the Year award on Wednesday by receiving 22 of the 24 votes from the MAC News Media Association Panel. His season averages 2.7 steals per game and six assists per game led the conference. Armon Bassett, a junior who transfered from Indiana University after two seasons, led the team with 15.5 points per game.

Either way, the players aren’t looking for this roller-coaster season to end. “We definitely have a chance,” said lone senior Kenneth Van Kempen. “We know we lost twice to [Kent State], but they didn’t dominate us.” In both games the Bobcats led the Golden Flashes late; only to fall to late rallies

Head coach John Groce says he looks forward to being the underdog and praised his opponent for their recent play. “They are playing their best basketball. I’ve watched their Akron film, and they were unbelievable, phenomenal — maybe the best I’ve seen a MAC team play in any given game in my two years here,” said Groce, refering to Kent State’s 74-61 drubbing of last year’s MAC champion Akron Zips. Kent State has won 13 of their last 14 games, including their last five straight.

Yet Ohio’s newcomers have learned to push through adversity. Their maturation process has been sped up because of the controversy that followed the team throughout the season. “This isn’t even close to the same team that we started out with at the beginning of the season,” said Groce. Freshman like forward Reggie Keely and Ivo Baltic have seen their roles expand as players were shuffled in and out of the lineup.

Some would think that the young players would be intimidated by the red-hot Flashes, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “It’s real exciting — but [there is] a little nervousness,” Cooper said. “We’re coming into the game real confident and try to do what we do best.”

While the Bobcats hope to shock the entire conference with a win, it all depends on which team shows up to Cleveland on Thursday night.

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Responses

  1. I’m dying for updates! And I’m willing to stretch grades if I get them! 🙂 Go Cats!!

    Miami – 12 points in the first half! Hahaha!


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