Jordan Dartis (35) shoots a three-pointer against Central Michigan defenders. (Nickolas Oatley/WOUB)

Dartis Leads Ohio Past EMU

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Mike Laster saw a crease in the Eastern Michigan defense with a little less than five minutes left in the game and capitalized, canning the corner three via a crisp pass from Kenny Kaminski. The sequence highlighted a 10-0 run by the Bobcats that led to a 79-71 road victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

The Eagles didn’t go away easily in crunch time though.

Eastern Michigan pressed Ohio with reckless abandon down the last two minutes and a Willie Mangum IV deep ball cut the Ohio lead to four points with just under a minute to play.

Enter Jordan Dartis.

The Bobcats funneled the ball to the sophomore guard the rest of the game, helping him finish with a perfect 12-of-12 mark from the free throw line. Dartis did all of his work beyond the arc and from the charity stripe to post a season-high 26 points.

Ohio attempted a whopping 40 free throw attempts in the second half, hitting 31 of them. This put the Eagles in some serious foul trouble that ended up haunting them down the stretch. Eastern Michigan’s second leading scorer, James Thompson IV fouled out of the contest with a little less than four minutes to play.

The aforementioned Eagles run was sparked by an explosion of 3-pointers down the stretch from the Eagles leading scorer Willie Mangum IV. The senior guard hit 5-of-11 attempts from downtown, helping him post a team-high 19 points on the night. Ty Toney joined in on the silky three-point shooting with a 3-of-3 mark from downtown to finish with 16 points.

Ohio’s Laster played 28 minutes off the bench and put up his most efficient scoring performance as a Bobcat. Laster dropped 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and his only 3-pointer of the contest sparked Ohio’s winning run. The Bobcats leading scorer on the season, Jaaron Simmons, struggled to find his stroke, finishing with seven points to go along with eight assists.

The Bobcats stayed afloat in the first half through six 3-point buckets but neither team could the 40 percent shooting barrier at the break. Dartis’ carried the Ohio offense in the first half, matching his season average of 14 points.

Ohio is now tied with Buffalo for second place in the Mid-American Conference at 8-5. Ohio returns to the Convocation Center on Saturday for a 2 p.m. matchup against Bowling Green.