ATHENS, Ohio – For the first time since 2014, the Ohio men's basketball team (13-13, 5-8 MAC) defeated Central Michigan (13-12, 6-6 MAC), 77-69, Tuesday night (Feb. 18) in the Convocation Center.
"I'm really proud of our guys," first year head coach Jeff Boals said. "I thought it was a really great win for us. We've won three of our last four and we've done it on the defensive end all three games. We did tonight what we did against Western and Miami and what we didn't do at Kent State. Coming into the game, CMU was 1-11 when they're out-rebounded, which we didn't do. They're also 0-10 when they score under 80 points. Big thing for us was just defensive intensity. Obviously, David DiLeo, you have to pay attention to him since he's the MAC three-point leader. They also just put their head down and drive and try to get you to draw a kick. Give our guys a lot of credit. At halftime, we were down six. We missed some layups, had nine turnovers, missed some wide open threes and we just told them to stay positive and pick themselves up. We made some adjustments and the guys did a great job ad carrying that out. They did a great job closing out the game."
Redshirt senior Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) led the Bobcats to victory with 27 points. He shot 7-of-12 from the three-point range, 6-of-7 from behind the foul line and dished out three assists. Redshirt sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) shot 6-of-12 from the field, brought in six rebounds, had six assists and finished with 15 points on the night.
Individually, freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) shot 2-of-3 from behind the three-point range, brought in one rebound and finished with 10 points. Graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) pulled down 11 rebounds, had three assists and finished with six points.
Overall, Ohio shot 41.9 percent from the field, 48.1 percent from three-point range and 70.6 percent from the free throw line, while Central Michigan shot 42.9 percent from the field, 18.2 percent from three-point range and 70.8 percent from the free throw line. CMU out-rebounded Ohio, 40-36, while Ohio dished out 17 assists to CMU's six.
For CMU. Kevin McKay led the Chippewas, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, while Rob Montgomery added 14 points, while the all-time MAC three-point shooter David DiLeo was held to nine points and a 1-for-3 night from beyond the arc.
Central Michigan opened the game up with the first two points before a jumper from Preston tied the game at 2-2. After another layup from CMU, Dartis drained his first three of the game to give the Bobcats their first lead. After CMU hit another jumper, Dartis drained his second three of the night. CMU then hit another layup, sending the game to the first media timeout with it tied at 8-8. Out of the timeout, Ohio and CMU traded baskets with Preston and freshman center Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.) picked up the points for the Bobcats, taking the game to the second media timeout with the game tied at 12-12.
After CMU took a two-point lead out of the timeout, back-to-back layups from Vander Plas and Preston put Ohio up two with 9:21 left in the half. However, CMU retook the lead after a layup and a free throw, giving the Chippewas the 17-16 lead going into the under-eight media timeout. Out of the timeout, Central Michigan took a five-point lead before three free throws from Dartis cut the deficit to two. After another layup from CMU, a layup from Vander Plas and a three from Dartis gave Ohio a 24-23 lead, forcing a CMU timeout.
Three free throws from CMU gave them the lead back with 3:37 left in the half before a McDay three put the Bobcats back on top. Central Michigan then took a three-point lead with 1:23 left of the half. CMU hit a three with 47 seconds left, giving them a 33-27 lead going into halftime.
At the half, Ohio shot 32 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line, while CMU shot 52 percent from the field, 17 percent from three-point range and 73 percent from the free throw line. CMU out-rebounded the Bobcats, 21-14, while Ohio dished out five assists to CMU's two. The Bobcats scored 12 points off of 12 CMU turnovers, while the Chippewas scored seven points off of nine Bobcats' turnovers.
Leading Ohio at the half was Dartis with 12 points, going 3-for-5 from three-point range and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Next was Preston with six points, three rebounds and four assists.
Ogbonda recorded the first points for the Bobcats to open the half, however, a driving layup from CMU put them back up six. After Dartis hit two free throws, four-straight points from CMU out the Chippewas up 39-31 and forced an Ohio timeout with 17:28 left in the game. Out of the timeout, a three and a layup from Preston cut the Ohio deficit to three before a CMU layup gave them a five-point lead once again. Moments later, Dartis drained his fourth three of the night, cutting the CMU lead to 41-39 with 15:45 left in the game.
Out of the media timeout, CMU took a four-point lead before Dartis' drained his sixth three of the night to cut the lead to one. After CMU went back up three, a jumper from Preston and a three from Vander Plas gave the Bobcats a 50-48 lead. However, a jumper and a free throw from CMU gave the Chippewas a 51-50 lead going in to the media timeout. Out of the timeout, a layup from CMU put them back up three. However, a three from Vander Plas and a layup from Ogbonda gave the Bobcats a 55-53 lead, forcing a CMU timeout.
Out of the timeout, CMU tied the game at 55-55 on two made free throws before a layup from Vander Plas gave Ohio back the lead. After two more free throws from CMU, tied the game at 57-57. Then a three from McDay, followed by a free throw from Vander Plas and a dunk from Ogbonda gave Ohio a 63-57 lead going into the final media timeout.
Out of the media timeout, CMU chipped away at Ohio's lead with a layup but a Vander Plas three kept Ohio on top. Following another CMU layup, Dartis hit his seventh basket from the three-point range and gave Ohio a 69-61 lead. A steal from Dartis led to a dunk by McDay to force CMU to take a timeout with 1:16 left to play.
Out of the timeout, CMU made a three point jumper to chip away at Ohio's lead but five free throw shots from McDay, Dartis and Preston kept the Bobcats on top. Although CMU had the last points of the game with two made free throws, Ohio won, 77-69.
Up next, Ohio heads to Bowling Green, Ohio on Saturday, Feb. 22 to take on Bowling Green. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. inside the Stroh Center.