Ohio Men's Basketball
Jeff Boals and the Bobcats dropped to 0-2 in MAC play on Wednesday as Ohio fell to Bowling Green at The Convo.

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Deja Vu occurs for ‘Cats in home loss to Bowling Green

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ATHENS, Ohio — The Ohio Bobcats Men’s Basketball Team was originally supposed to host the Bowling Green Falcons on March 5 in Athens. However, due to a couple of MAC games being postponed, the Mid-American Conference made some changes to the schedule, so the two met on Dec. 30 at The Convo.

The two times that Ohio played against Bowling Green last year, the Bobcats went into the half with a double-digit lead. However, both times they would end up losing the game. That once again occurred for the ‘Cats (4-4, 0-2 MAC)  Wednesday Afternoon at The Convo as they went into the half up by ten, but eventually fall to the Falcons (6-2, 2-0 MAC), 83-75.

The biggest reason as to why the Falcons were able to come back and win this game was due to one of the better free throw shooting performances by a team that you will see all season. The Falcons got to the line 40 times in the game and made 38 of them. That is 95 percent from the line, which is an incredible efficiency rating.

“That’s a really good team,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said of Bowling Green.  “Obviously, when every time they drive it’s a foul, that becomes a problem and I think they made it to the line like 40 times and hit 38 of them. So that was a big difference in the game, especially in the 2nd half.”

The Bobcats were without Jason Preston for the game, as he was out with a lower extremity injury. Freshman Mark Sears got his first career start in Preston’s Absence and had an efficient game considering the circumstances. Sears finished with nine points, nine assists and 6 rebounds.

“He’s gonna be a really good player for this program,” Boals said of Sears.  “I think he was kind of thrown into the fire with Jason (Preston) being out and I think he handled himself really really well in his first start and I think he’s gonna continue to get better and better.”

In the first half, the Bobcats adjusted to not having Preston by spreading the ball around and shooting threes. The Bobcats knocked down right three-pointers in the first half and shot 47 percent from the field. Ohio led for the entire first half and went into the break up 42-32. Another reason the Cats were successful in the half was they were able to limit Justin Turner, the star senior for Bowling Green, to just two points in the first half. The way the Falcons were able to stay in the game in the first was because they got all ten of the free throws in the half, hitting nine of them.

“I thought for the most part we did a good job of guarding their initial reaction,” Boals said.  “They eventually just put their head down and started driving towards the basket and started to get points.”

In the second half, the Falcons adjusted exactly how Boals described it. They started driving toward the basket and getting to the free throw line. They made it to the line 30 times in the second half alone and knocked down 29 attempts, can’t really get much better than that. The Bobcats only got to the line ten times and hit seven. The Falcons had five players in double figures in the afternoon. Trey Diggs led the way with 20 points, while Turner finished with 16. Among the top five scorers for Bowling Green, they attempted all 40 free throws for the Falcons.

As for the Bobcats, Dwight Wilson would lead the way in scoring as he would finish with 20 points. Ben Roderick would get 16 while Ben Vander Plas and Lunden McDay would each have 11. Even though the Bobcats weren’t able to get the win, Coach Boals was proud of his team’s effort today without their start player against the team picked to win the MAC in the preseason

“I really liked our effort level coming out of the gate. That’s something we didn’t have against Marshall or Akron and today we did so I’m really proud of our guys for that. Now we have a tough road game coming up against Ball State. It’s a quick turn around so we’re gonna start getting ready for it.”

The Bobcats will tip-off the new year when they travel to take on Ball State in Muncie, Ind. on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 3:00 p.m.

Ohio Men's Basketball
Ohio head coach Jeff Boals talks to his team during Ohio’s game against Purdue Northwest on Dec. 10, 2020.