Ohio Men’s Basketball: Preston Returns, Bobcats defeat Miami in “Battle of the Bricks” Part One

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Bobcats got their star player back on Tuesday night.

After missing the previous four games with a lower leg injury, Jason Preston had his name announced during pregame starting lineups for the first time since Ohio was in Akron on Dec. 22.

Preston saw 32 minutes of playing time.  He scored ten points, had eight assists and grabbed six rebounds in Ohio’s (7-5, 3-3 MAC) 78-61 victory over rival Miami (OH) (3-3, 1-2 MAC) on Tuesday evening.

Ohio Men's Basketball Jason Preston
Ohio’s Jason Preston works the ball inside in the Bobcats’ game against Miami (OH) on Jan. 12, 2021.

“It was great to be back out there with my teammates,” Preston said.  “It was nice to be back out there and I felt pretty good.”

“I thought he did a phenomenal job,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said.  “I know he got tired and it might take a couple games to get his wind back to where it was.  He’s a high-motored guy.  It was just awesome seeing him out there and he makes the game a lot easier for everyone.”

Ohio’s leading scorer was Ben Roderick, who finished with 20 points.  Roderick shot 6-of-10 from three.

“I felt pretty confident,” Roderick said.  “When seeing the first one go in, it’s always a great thing.  So, when I see that first one go in, I want to just keep shooting it.”

Ben Vander Plas had a solid game as well.  Vander Plas had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

The game, however, did have a bizarre occurrence early in the second half.

The game was slightly delayed at the 15:58 mark when the shot clock above one of the hoops turned off, the hoop Miami was shooting at.  After a little bit of time trying to resolve the problem, the refs kept that hoop’s clock off and also turned off Ohio’s shot clock to make things fair.

For the remainder of the game, it was up to PA announcer Lou Horvath to give shot clock updates for both teams.

The 208th meeting of “The Battle of the Bricks” was different than the previous 207.  There were very limited fans.  However, the Bobcats had some support from members of the Ohio volleyball, women’s basketball and swimming & diving teams, who were in attendance, socially distanced in the upper bowl.

“It was awesome to see them,” Boals said.  “With what these people are doing now with the COVID, like they have no social life.  I think for them to get out for a couple hours to see us play is good for everybody.”

“I saw them up there cheering and clapping.  When that long timeout was going on, OU and Miami’s bench had a little bit of cheering going on and they were into it as well.”

The next chapter in “The Battle of the Bricks” does not have a scheduled date or time as of now.  Their game back in December, scheduled to be played in Oxford, was postponed due to COVID issues at Miami.

The Bobcats stay in Athens and will welcome in Kent State to the Convocation Center on Saturday.  Tip-off for that game is slated for 2 p.m.  Be sure to follow along on WOUB’s Bobcat Sports Showcase social media accounts for updates and coverage.