Players of the Ohio University men’s basketball team, reacts to a foul call against a Central Michigan player, during the Ohio vs Central Michigan Mens Basketball game at The Convocation Center on Saturday, February 3rd in Athens, Ohio. (Austin Janning/WOUB)

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Carter, ‘Cats Roll Past Marshall

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Jason Carter had his way with the Marshall defense all afternoon, but with just under four minutes to play, he delivered the knockout punch.

The 6-foot-8-inch forward caught the ball outside the three-point line, drove to the basket, got fouled and threw home a monstrous dunk over Taevion Kinsey that sent the Ohio bench and the entire Convo into a frenzy.

That throwdown gave the ‘Cats a 19-point lead and Ohio would go on to finish off a convincing 101-84 win over the Thundering Herd on Saturday afternoon.

“I think that (dunk) is at the top for me,” Carter said. “I wasn’t sure if I made it at first, then I when I came down, I saw it went through.”

Carter, who finished the game with 25 points and 12 rebounds, would be one of four Bobcats to finish the game in double figures on what was, by far, the team’s best offensive performance of the young season.

“Certainly (Kirk) and (Vander Plas) have been there pretty much the whole way through,” Ohio head coach Saul Phillips said. “But Gavin’s emergence the last two games has really been huge for us.”

Gavin Block has come out of an early-season slump in the last two games. After starting the season 5-of-21 from three-point range in his first six games, the senior has made 9-of-11 threes in the last two, including a 6-for-7 outing against Marshall.

Block finished the game with 18 points and can be credited with halting a major Marshall run.

Twice during the game, the forward hit threes on consecutive possessions. The second of those occurrences, the forward stopped the bleeding for the Bobcats, who were on the wrong end of a 12-2 run and saw their 21-point lead trimmed to 11 with just over 11 minutes to play. His threes pushed the Ohio lead back out to 17 and the Herd never really recovered.

“Gavin went off tonight, and I was happy for him,” Carter said. “After the Jamaica trip, it was pretty rough, but when people are hitting shots, it just opens up driving lanes for not only me, but (Teyvion), Antonio and everybody.

The Bobcats had their best shooting performance of the season thus far, finishing the game shooting 51 percent (36/70) from the field and 53 percent (9/17) from long distance.

“We’ve got a very dynamic offense with some very good guards,” Phillips said. “If I can get us to cut down on our turnovers, we could be pretty good offensively.”

The turnover bug was the lone blemish for the Bobcats’ offense, coughing the ball up 19 times and giving up 26 points to the Herd off of those turnovers.

On the other side of the court, despite giving up a season-high 84 points to Marshall, the ‘Cats came away with some positives on the defensive end.

Ohio out-rebounded the Thundering Herd 49-29 and dominated when it came to second-chance points by keeping Marshall off of the offensive glass.

“We made them a little bit uncomfortable when they turned the corner,” Phillips said. “I think we can be pretty good defensively. We’ve got some ball hawks on the front line and we’ve got some guys that can block shots and take charges.”

The 25-and-12 showing from Carter was his third double-double of the year while Block added three boards, three steals and 2 assists to his 18 point performance. Ben Vander Plas also tossed in 18 and grabbed five rebounds. Kirk, who has scored double figures in every game so far this season, added 17 points, eight rebounds and 5 assists.

The Bobcats next game will be their toughest yet when they travel to the Cintas Center to take on Xavier next Wednesday night.