PHILADELPHIA – The Ohio men's basketball team (3-1) was unable to overcome a hot shooting Villanova (2-1) team. Falling to the 10th-ranked Wildcats, 78-54, Saturday afternoon inside the Wells Fargo Center.
"I was really happy with the way we started," first year head coach Jeff Boals said. "If you really look at it, right at the eight-minute media timeout it was a one-point game. I thought we did a great job of following the game plan and rebounding a blocking out on transition defense. It was that one stretch from the 7:40 minute mark to halftime where Villanova just went on a run and opened the game up. They're really good. That's a top-10 team in the country. Their ability to make shots is why they're so good. If you look at that stretch, we did some things that we didn't talk about doing. Against a team like that your margin for error is small. At halftime we came in and talked about coming out and competing. And I am really proud of our guys."
Leading Ohio was redshirt sophomore Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) who registered a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Vander Plas went 8-of-15 from the field and 2-of-7 from three-point range. Sophomore Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished the game with 16 points, going 8-of-18 from the field while dishing out eight assists. graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) finished with six points and eight boards.
Overall, Ohio shot 39.7 percent (23-of-58) from the field, 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from three-point range and 50.0 percent (5-of-10) from the free throw line, while Villanova shot 39.0 percent (23-of-59) from the field, 45.2 percent (14-of-31) from three-point range and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free throw line.
Ohio out-rebounded the Wildcats, 42-36, while Villanova dished out 18 assists to the Bobcats' 11. The Wildcats forced 16 Ohio turnovers and scored 18 points off of them, while the Bobcats scored 36 points in the paint.
Ohio opened the game with the first five points of the game starting with two layups from Preston and a free throw from Vander Plas. However, Villanova went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-5 lead going into the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Bobcats tied the game on a layup from Vander Plas and a jumper from Preston. However, Villanova countered with a 6-0 run to take a 13-9 lead entering the next media timeout.
After the Wildcats took a 15-9 lead out of the media, a layup from redshirt freshman Mason McMurray (Stow Ohio) and back-to-back layups form Vander Plas would cut the Villanova lead to one going into the under-eight media timeout.
The Bobcats retook the lead out of the timeout after another Preston layup, however, Villanova countered, going on a 10-run to take a 26-17 lead, forcing the Bobcats to call a timeout with 4:22 left in the first half. The Wildcats stretched that into a 16-0 run before a layup by freshman Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.) would stop the run. After a driving layup from Preston would cut the lead to 35-21 with 2:02 left, Villanova scored the next eight points to take a 43-21 lead into halftime.
At the half, the Bobcats were shooting 40.0 percent from the field and did not hit a three, while Villanova shot 45.0 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from three-point range and 69.0 percent from the free throw line.
Villanova out-rebounded the Bobcats 18-15, while forcing the ball over 10 time and scoring 12 points off of those turnovers. The Bobcats dished out four assists compared to the Wildcats' 10, while also scoring 16 points in the paint.
Individually, Preston led all Bobcats with 10 points and three assists, while Vander Plas added seven points and six rebounds.
Villanova recorded the first points of the second half before Ogbonda recorded Ohio's first points on a layup with the help from Preston. After a three from Nova, Vander Plas drained the Bobcats first three of the game, however Villanova went on a 5-0 run after the three to take a 56-28 lead going into the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Vander Plas led the Bobcats on a 7-0 run where hit one three and connected on two layups to cute the Nova lead to 56-35. However, the Wildcats would hit a jumper and send the game to the next media timeout with the Bobcats trailing, 58-35. Out of the timeout, Ohio started on a 6-3 run, including a jumper from redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio), sending the game to the media with the Bobcats railing, 63-41.
Out of the media timeout, the Bobcats got points from Ogbonda and Vander Plas before a three from Villanova pushed the Nova lead to 73-47 entering the final media timeout. Free throws from Dartis and Foster, along with a jumper and a three from redshirt freshman Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.) helped close out the game for the Bobcats, ultimately falling by the final of 78-54.
For Villanova, the Wildcats has four score in double figures, including Saddiq Bey who scored 19 and Justin Moore who added 18.
Up next, the Bobcats head to Conway, S.C. for the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational Nov. 21-24. Ohio will open the tournament Thursday, Nov. 21 when they take on No. 24 Baylor at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2.