ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio men's basketball team (2-0) opened the home portion of their schedule on Saturday (Nov. 9), defeating Heidelberg, 88-50, inside the Convocation Center. The victory was head coach Jeff Boals first official home win.
"I think our ability to respond to slow starts in both halves has good. It's not ideal to get off to slow starts. We talk about setting the tone defensively and offensively, and I felt Heidelberg did that in both halves. I though our guys responded pretty well and picked up the energy level on both ends. I was impressed with the way we shared the basketball. Sometimes in games like this you can get kind of selfish, but I felt we made the best plays for the most part. I'm really happy to get some guys in the game and it was good to see Marvin Price back and to get John [Tenerowicz] and Michael [Brown, Jr.] in there to get some minutes.
Redshirt sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) led the team with 18 points, going 6-of-10 from the field while hitting three three-pointers. Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) also had a big night from the floor, going 6-of-10 from the field and registering a career-high 16 points in 30 minutes on the floor. Freshman center Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.) was also a major contributor after going 5-of-5 from the field and registering 12 points, his first double-digit scoring game of his career.
Foster had eight rebounds for Ohio, while Preston pulled down seven. Vander Plas and graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) both grabbed six boards. Meanwhile, Preston led the way will 11 assists, while freshman guards Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) and Michael Brown, Jr. (Rochester, N.Y.) both dished out four.
Overall, the Bobcats were 31-of-61 (50.8 percent) from the field, 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from the three-point line, and 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from the free throw line. Heidelberg was held to 19-of-57 (33.3 percent) overall from the field and 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from three-point range.
Heidelberg opened the game with the first bucket and held the lead until 16:54 in the first half when Preston hit a layup to retake the lead. Coming out of the media timeout, Heidelberg hit a layup and a pair of free throws to put the Student Princes back on top, 9-6.
From there, several Bobcats got involved and took Ohio on a 7-0 run. Preston got into the paint converting on a pair of layups, while redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) hit a three-pointer and Vander Plas converted on a layup of his own to put the Bobcats up 15-9 at the 11:23 mark.
A Heidelberg three-pointer cut the lead to 15-12, but the Bobcats answered right away when Preston hit a jumper. Ohio then heated up from behind-the arc, hitting three three-pointers in a row. Two came from Vander Plas, and one from Dartis, putting the Bobcats up 30-19 at the 5:23 mark.
OU went into the half on a 6-0 run with two threes from Foster and redshirt freshman forward Mason McMurray (Stow, Ohio), sending the Bobcats into the locker room with a 43-26 lead.
At the half, Ohio shot 15-of-33 (45.5 percent) from the field, 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range and (6-of-9) 66.7 percent from the free throw line. Ohio held Heidelberg to 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from the field, 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from deep and 3-of-6 (50 percent) from the free throw line. Vander Plas led Ohio with 12 points, going 4-for-6 from the field. Ohio outrebounded Heidelberg 21-14 in the first half while also registering 12 assists to Heidelberg's five. Ohio forced six Heidelberg turn overs turnovers which resulted in nine points.
Individually, Vander Plas led Ohio with 12 points going 4-of-6 from the field and four rebounds. Graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) pulled in six rebounds and Preston added eight points while also going 4-of-6 from the field and dished out seven assists.
Heidelberg opened the second half with four quick points off a jumper and a layup, however McDay answered with a jumper of his own to take the score to 45-30. Heidelberg answered with a quick jumper before heading into a media timeout.
Coming out of the media timeout, the Bobcats went on another 5-0 run with two buckets coming from Preston, Foster and a three-point shot from McMurray to take the score to 51-32.
Ohio continued to score while Heidelberg's offense struggled, only hitting two shots over the next four minutes before entering the second media time out of the half at 56-35. After an Ogbonda jumper, McDay gave Ohio a 25-point lead at the 10:39 mark. Heidelberg would convert three buckets over the span of the next minute, however Ohio responded with a bucket of their own each time.
Ohio went on a big 11-0 run with contributions from Ogbonda, Preston, Vander Plas, and Dartis which turned a 25-point Ohio lead into a 35-point lead at the 6:36 mark, giving Ohio a 76-41 advantage.
OU jumped out to a 40-point lead with a minute left in the game with an emphatic dunk from redshirt freshman Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.). Heidelberg ended the game on a 4-0 run to make the final 88-50.
SPRINGS WITH THE DUNK �� pic.twitter.com/oXTwI0JC2Z— Ohio Men's Basketball (@OhioMBasketball) November 9, 2019
Ohio was 16-of-28 (57.1 percent) from the field in the second half and 6-of-10 from deep while the Student Princes were 10-of-33 (30.3 percent), 1-of-8 (12.5 percent) from behind the three-point line.
Ohio is back in action when they travel to New Rochelle, N.Y. to take on Iona on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.