ATHENS, Ohio – First year head coach Jeff Boals made his coaching debut inside the Convocation Center, as the Ohio men's basketball team defeated Capital, 73-49, Saturday afternoon (Nov. 2) in the Bobcats' annual Dad's Weekend exhibition game.
"It was a surreal feeling," Boals said. "It's a little different when you're coaching on the sidelines instead of in uniform. I've been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time and I'm really excited that I'm able to be at my alma mater, be the head coach and represent a great university. I look forward to many wins in this building."
Leading Ohio was sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) scored a team-high 17 points, going 5-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Preston also dished out six assists had three steals and grabbed seven rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) finished with 13 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists in 13 minutes. Freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) finished his first day as a Bobcat on the court with 12 points, two assists and three steals, while redshirt sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) added nine points and five rebounds. Freshman center Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.) finished the day with a team-leading eight rebounds.
"I woke up this morning around 6:30 and I was a little nervous," Dartis said about his first game back after missing all of last season. "Then I thought about the opportunity to be a basketball player again and I am just so grateful right now. I'm glad to get that first game under my belt and just get comfortable again. It felt really good."
Capital opened the game with the first points, but that was erased moments later by a layup from Preston to tie the game at 2-2 early. A layup from McDay and another two points from Vander Plas would give the Bobcats an 8-5 lead entering the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Preston and redshirt freshman forward Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.) drained back-to-back threes to give Ohio a 10-point advantage entering the second media timeout. Then after layups from graduate transfer forward Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) and McDay, Preston hit a step-back jumper to put the Bobcats up 24-9 with eight minutes to go in the first half.
The Bobcats and Capital traded baskets over the next four minutes, with Springs and McDay both hitting two layups to extend the Bobcat lead to 29-14 with 4:44 left in the first half. After Capital cut the Ohio lead to 10 with 1:20 left in the first half, Foster hit a step-back jumper to put Ohio up, 31-19 with under a minute to go. Preston drained two free throws to close out the half, sending Ohio to the locker room with a 33-20 lead.
At the half, Ohio shot 43 percent from the field, 18 percent from three-point range and 70 percent from the free throw line, while Capital shot 26 percent from the field, nine percent from three-point range and 60 percent from the free throw line. Both teams recorded 21 rebounds and four steals, while the Bobcats dished out nine assists and had three blocks.
Preston led the way with 11 points, going 3-of-6 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Vander Plas added five points and four rebounds, while McDay added seven points.
Just as they did in the first half, Capital scored first to open the scoring in the second half. Ogbonda followed that up with a layup of his own to bring the Ohio lead to 35-22. After the Crusaders cut the Ohio lead to 10 with 16:29 to go, a jumper from Foster put the Bobcats back up 12 going into the first media timeout of the half.
������ pic.twitter.com/Pm30W5f10y— Ohio Men's Basketball (@OhioMBasketball) November 2, 2019
A layup from McDay and a three-pointer from Dartis extended the Bobcats' lead to 15, before Dartis went on to score 11-straight points, including another deep three to give Ohio a 52-30 lead entering the media timeout.
After another layup from Dartis, Capital went on a 5-0 run to cut the Ohio lead to 54-39 with eight minutes to go. Preston stopped the Capital run, with a layup bringing the lead back to 17. A three from McDay with 6:38 to go in the game, extended the Bobcats lead to 59-41, before four-straight free throws from Vander Plas gave Ohio a 22-point lead. After a three from Capital, Preston scored off his own rebound, putting the Bobcats' up 65-44 entering the final media timeout.
Out of the final media timeout, the Bobcats went on a 6-0 run before Capital drained a three with 58 seconds to go. Springs then hit a jumper with 40 seconds remaining to seal the Bobcats' 73-49 victory.
Overall, Ohio shot 41.1 percent from the floor, 23.8 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent from the free throw line, while Capital shot 31.7 percent from the field, 20.8 percent from three-point range and 60.0 percent from the free throw line. Ohio out-rebounded the Crusaders 44-37, while forcing 19 turnovers and scoring 30 points off of them.
The Bobcats also recorded 11 steals and dished out 14 assists compared to Capital's nine assists and eight steals.
For Capital, Ganiyu Yahaya finished with 17 points and five rebounds and Reed Bradfield finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Up next, the Bobcats return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 5 when the Bobcats take on St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. inside the Reilly Center and can be seen on ESPN+.