ATHENS, Ohio -- Behind a career-high tying, double-double performance from redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) who registered a team-high 25 points, the Ohio men's basketball team (5-2) defeated Marshall (5-2), 101-84, in a dominating performance on Saturday (Dec. 1) inside the Convocation Center.
"The guys came out on the defensive end, very engaged and did a nice job that way," fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips said. "We have a very dynamic offense with some really good guards and throughout the game we were cruising along and were at one point per possession. They got loose on us late. I think our defense effected the game and I think we did a good job at getting help where we needed to. Offensively, second game in a row that I think we've come out and have done a good job at sticking to our game plan. If I can get us to cut down on our turnovers, we can be pretty good offensively."
Carter, in his double-double performance, went 9-of-17 from the field as well as 6-of-9 from the free-throw line while compiling a game-high 12 rebounds, two assists, and two steals in 29 minutes of play. Following closely behind was senior guard Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) and redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) both with 18 points for the Bobcats. Block shot 6-of-9 from the field – including 6-of-7 from the three-point line and added two assists in his 26 minutes of play. Vander Plas shot 7-of-13 from the field and added five rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) compiled 17 points and added eight rebounds, a game-high five assists, and a game-high three steals in 33 minutes of work for Ohio. Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) barely missed a double-double, recording eight points and nine rebounds for Ohio in his 33 minutes of play. Senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio), added nine points, seven rebounds and a game-high two blocks in 20 minutes of play for the Bobcats.
"The coaches and the whole team are just really buying in on defense," Kirk said. "Throughout these weeks in practice we've just been focusing on being a great defensive team and helping each other and making teams score hard buckets."
The "big" dynamic duo, Taylor and Carter, combined for the Bobcats first 10 points, each with five points apiece, for an early 10-7 lead after five minutes of play. Ohio increased the lead on a 5-0 run until Marshall hit a deep three-point basket. However, Vander Plas and Block entered the game and combined for nine points on three, three-point baskets with under ten minutes to play in the half. With Ohio ahead 26-15, Marshall responded by going on a 6-0 run to shrink the lead to 26-21. The Bobcats, unphased by the run, went on a 10-0 run that gave Ohio its biggest lead of the game, ahead 36-21, with under five minutes left to play in the first half. Ohio racked up six points in the paint from Carter, Vander Plas and Cowart as well as a pair of free-throws from Kirk that kept the Bobcats in front, 44-26, as the two-minute mark approached. Vander Plas with a quick deuce as the clock ran out to end the first half that placed Ohio ahead by 17 with a 48-31 lead.
Behind Carter's 15 first half points, Ohio registered a 51 percent field goal percentage going 19-of-37 from the field – including 5-of-10 from three-point range, compared to Marshall who registered a 36.4 percent field goal percentage going 12-of-33 from the field for the half. Ohio compiled a whopping 29 rebounds and nine assists compared to Marshall who compiled only 11 rebounds and four assists. Ohio was able to rack up 26 points in the paint alongside five steals compared to Marshalls' 12 points in the paint and two steals for the half.
Ohio outscored Marshall 15-11 through the first five minutes of the second half increasing the Bobcat lead to 63-42. Marshall, persistent to push back, went on a 12-2 run to bring the Thundering Herd within 11, trailing 65-54. Block, however, registered two consecutive three-point baskets with just over 10 minutes to play in the half bringing the Bobcat lead back to 17 ahead 71-54.
After a two-minute scoring drought, Carter with a put-back basket and the extra point fueled an Ohio 10-2 run and an 81-61 lead with just over five minutes left to play in the second half. Carter with a powerful dunk and the extra point sparked momentum for Ohio as a rebound put-back basket by Vander Plas and another pair of consecutive three-point baskets for Block followed giving the Bobcats a 92-70 lead with three minutes left to play. Marshall attempted a final push recording a 12-0 run in the final minutes of the game that tied Ohio for the half at 53 points, but the Bobcats first half performance prevailed for the victory.
"I just went up and honestly, I thought I missed it at first because he challenged me pretty well and I know he has the most bounce on the other team," said Carter on the dunk. "When I came down I saw that it went through and was like, well that's a good boost for us."
Ohio finished the game with a 51.4 percent (36-of-70) field goal percentage and 49 total rebounds compared to Marshall who finished the game with a 44.1 percent (30-of-68) field goal percentage and 29 total rebounds. Ohio registered 18 total assists to Marshalls' 11 and racked 52 points in the paint compared to 40 for the Herd.
Jon Elmore finished with a game-high 26 points over 39 minutes to lead Marshall in scoring, while also compiling a team-high four rebounds and a team-high five assists. C.J. Burks finished closely behind with 22 points, a team-high four rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes of play. Taevion Kinsey and Jannson Williams both added eight points for Marshall.
The Bobcats will return to action as they hit the road to Cincinnati on Wednesday, Dec. 5 as they take on Xavier. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.