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


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After missing Saturday’s game with an injury, Jordan Dartis returned to the line up.

And he made his presence felt.

Dartis had a career-high 38 points in a 99-75 victory over the Akron Zips (10-13, 3-8) Tuesday night.

The win snaps a four game losing streak for Ohio (10-13, 3-8).

“Greatness,” Dartis said, about getting the win. “But I still have that sour taste in my mouth. When you lose that many games, especially when you’re not used to it, it’s hard to grasp. So winning that one right there, it feels good, but it won’t feel as good until you take care of business each day.”

“We got points to prove,” Gavin Block immediately followed up with.

What are those points?

“Winning,” Dartis said first.

“We’re better than 3 and whatever we are. Three wins in the conference, we’re better than that,” Block followed up with. “We gotta show people that we’re better than that and we’re not letting anybody think differently. Just gotta keep that mindset and go out there and do what we did tonight.”

Dartis got hot early and stayed hot for the game.

Ohio led 28-22 with 8:12 left in the first half. Then Dartis took over. Dartis hit back-to-back triples. A Laster jumper put Ohio up 36-26 with 5:43 remaining. Then, Dartis went back to work.

Dartis hit an NBA range three from the left wing and then 30 seconds later he hit a transition three from the left wing to put Ohio up 42-28 and Ohio was off and running. Dartis’ threes sparked a 14-2 run for Ohio.

“We lost him a couple of times early, and I felt like that got him going, then some of the shots he made after that, I mean they were so deep that I felt they were from Columbus,” Akron head coach John Groce said.

Dartis hit his sixth and final three of the first half, with 42 seconds remaining. Ohio led 56-34 at the half.

“I thought we played pretty well offensively and then you had Jordan take it to a ridiculous level is basically what it amounted to,” head coach Saul Phillips said. “Fifty six points in a half is {really good}”

The second half was more of the same. Ohio led by at least 25 points for almost the entire half.

Dartis scored six of Ohio’s first eight points in the second half. He had a career high 38 points and hit a career high 10 threes.

The two teams traded points until another three by Dartis put Ohio up 71-43. Teyvion Kirk put away all doubt when he got a pass in transition from Zach Butler and threw down a dunk to put Ohio up 73-45 with 12:30 left.

Dartis’ final three of the night came in style. Dartis hit one as the shot clock was winding down, from the O in Ohio.

“I thought honestly, if he has more of an average night, I still think we had more than a fighting chance to win it. I really do,” Phillips said. “But he was the separation tonight.”

The win spoiled former head coach John Groce’s return to the Convocation Center. In his time at Ohio, Groce took the program to the NCAA tournament twice, including a trip to the Sweet 16.

“Today when I came into shoot around, that was the first time I’ve been in the building in about six years, so that part for me was probably a little bit emotional,” Groce said. “After that it was trying to coach our team and get our team ready to go,”

“It’s the first time I saw the banner. I wanted to see the banner when I walked in and it brought back a lot of great memories,” the coach continued.

Gavin Block had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Kirk had 13 points and seven rebounds. James Gollon had 13 points, including three threes, and Mike Laster added 10. Daniel Utomi led the way for Akron with 21 points. Jimond Ivey had 15 and Eric Parrish added 13 points and six rebounds.

The win certainly lifted Ohio’s spirits. During the post game press conference forward Sam Frayer came in and took a selfie with Dartis and said, “When we average 40 points, we’re pretty tough to stop.”

Ohio travels to Kalamazoo, Michigan to take on Western Michigan on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 4:30p.m.