Ohio Dominates Inside, Takes Down Wilberforce 97-61 In Season Opener

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Ohio knew that they weren’t exactly taking on the stiffest of competition tonight at the Convo to open up play in the regular season, but that didn’t change the fact that Ohio wanted to start off strong with a win.

Ohio was able to separate themselves from a pesky Wilberforce squad late in the first half, eventually taking this contest by a score of 97-61. The 12-2 run to end the first half pushed the Bobcats to a 19 point first half lead that they would never give up.

Ohio played some stingy defense to open the game, holding Wilberforce scoreless until 14:22 left in the first half when Darrion Riddle hit a three pointer to put Wilberforce on the board. That strong defense gave the Bobcats a comfortable lead in a game they would never trail in.

Teyvion Kirk entered this season with high expectations after being selected to the freshmen first team in the MAC and he did not disappoint, the Sophomore had 17 points on 7-14 from the field with a couple breakaway dunks to excite the fans at the Convo tonight.

Kirk’s best play wasn’t one where he scored.  Late in the first half it was a two on one fast break opportunity where Kirk set it off the backboard to Antonio Cowart Jr. Cowart, the transfer from Southwest Mississippi Community College slammed it home for two of his nine points in his debut for the Bobcats.

Two players were making their first action since serious injuries sidelined them last season, Jason Carter and Ben Vander Plas looked sharp and excited to be on the floor with the new teammates.

“I think they’re both pretty close to 100% right now, both looked efficient when on the court tonight,” head coach Saul Phillips said.

Carter, a former all MAC freshman selection scored a team high 17 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Vander Plas scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting from the field in his Ohio debut after an injury forced him to redshirt all of last season.

“It felt good to be back out there, I feel I missed some easy looks but that’s all part of the process,” Carter said.

Doug Taylor dominated down low for the Bobcats, grabbing 11 rebounds and swatting away four shots.

“Being around the rim helped Doug and I rebound tonight, with us playing together there are two bodies down there that they have to focus on,” Carter said.

The long list of freshman were all making their first collegiate appearances tonight and it was Jason Preston making plays for Ohio. Preston was included in the starting lineup and he scored 10 points and dished out a couple of flashy passes to get the Bobcats offense going.

“Preston made some really intelligent basketball plays, he also made a couple nice cuts to the basket,” Phillips said.

Mason McMurray and Torrey James also had impressive starts to their college careers, the two combined for 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

“Mason and Torrey both did a terrific job, Mason came in and threw a couple nice passes while Torry did a good job on both ends,” Phillips said.

If there was any moment that looked rough for the Bobcats it was the start to the second half, Ohio got outscored six to nothing in the opening two minutes and thirty seconds, Wilberforce was able to trim the Bobcats advantage to 13 points with this run.

“Pretty much the only part of the game where I was disappointed with was coming out of the locker room,” Phillips Said.

Ohio will be back in action on Monday against Campbell, who boasts one of the nation’s most exciting players in the country in Chris Clemons.

“With the nation’s leading scorer coming in off of 44 points on Tuesday night it will be a challenge,” Phillips said. “You will want to come because that game will be electric.”