Ohio’s Miles Brown (2) played a career-high 28 minutes and helped guide Ohio in the second half to a 92-72 win over Purdue Northwest on Dec. 10, 2020.

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Despite last-minute schedule addition, Bobcats run past Purdue Northwest

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ATHENS, Ohio — About 29 hours prior to tip-off, it was officially announced that Ohio was playing a basketball game on Thursday afternoon.

After Mississippi Valley State canceled its matchup with the Bobcats that was set for Dec. 18, Ohio’s athletic administration got on the phone to try and get another game scheduled.

“We called pretty much every (NCAA) Division I school within a three or four hour radius to try to get a game scheduled,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said.  “Either somebody didn’t want to play us or come play us (in Athens).  We started looking at non-Division I schools.  (Purdue Northwest) couldn’t make it down on Wednesday and was able to make it work on Thursday.  I thought it was good to just get a game in this week.”

On short notice, which is no surprise in 2020 since many programs are scheduling games just days before tip-off, Ohio (4-1) took the court at the Convocation Center against Division II opponent Purdue Northwest and came away with a 92-72 victory.

Ohio Men's Basketball Jason Preston
Ohio’s Jason Preston, who has received a ton of national media attention the past few weeks, led the Bobcats with 22 points and 11 assists on Thursday. 

Despite losing by 20 in the end, Purdue Northwest put out a valiant effort in the opening half.  While the Bobcats got off to a sluggish start, the Pride took advantage and led by as many as eight while holding Ohio to 1-of-11 from three-point range.

The Bobcats found themselves trailing, 40-36, at the half.

“I thought we might be a little sluggish with (final exams) going on.  We tested (for COVID-19) this morning at 7:15 a.m. and it’s not your normal gameday routine,” Boals said.  “We had a couple guys that had a final before shootaround so I was kind of expecting it.  I think it’s always good to face some adversity and see how the guys respond.”

Ohio came out strong in the second half, led by a defensive spark from Miles Brown, who also accounted for 11 points for the Bobcats.

“It was a short turnaround from our previous game and, coming into this game, there aren’t a lot of fans so we knew we were going to have to generate our own energy,” Brown said.  “Me, coming off the bench, that’s what I kind of do.  I set the tone on defense coming in the game and that’s exactly what I did (Thursday).”

On top of the 11 points scored, Brown had three steals and a block for the Bobcats on the defensive end.

“He was probably the difference in the game from an energy standpoint and effort standpoint,” Boals said of Brown.  “He really turned the tide defensively.”

Ohio was paced by Jason Preston, who led the Bobcats with 22 points and 11 assists.  Dwight Wilson III had 17 points and helped set the tone for Ohio in the second half with two dunks early on.  Ben Vander Plas and Lunden McDay also reached double figures with 14 points and 13 points, respectively.

The Bobcats will be back in action on Sunday at Marshall.  Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.