Check out this link for video highlights from Ohio's victory over Akron on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021

Ohio Men’s Basketball: Bobcats Defy Expectations in Resounding Victory Over Akron

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It was safe to say that the odds were stacked against the Ohio men’s basketball team when they took the court Tuesday afternoon, but they rose to the challenge in what was arguably their best performance of the season.

After recording their fourth straight win against Central Michigan, the coronavirus spread through the Bobcats’ locker room. This left the team out of action for three weeks, only to reconvene as a full roster a few days before an important MAC game.

“We had ten days of not being able to go to a gym [or] touch a basketball,” said redshirt junior Ben Vander Plas. “Everybody really bought in to getting as much extra work in as possible.”

Not only was Ohio coming into the game with only one intense 5 v. 5 practice, but they were facing the Akron Zips, who had won ten of their last 11 games with MAC player of the year Loren Cristian Jackson leading the charge. On top of that, Jason Preston and Dwight Wilson III, both starters for the Bobcats, were out for the game.

The odds of a presumably rusty Ohio team defeating red hot Akron was considerably low, but the Bobcats defied those odds tenfold.

The Zips came out aggressive on both sides of the floor as expected, but the Bobcats were up to the task. Ohio was on fire from behind the arc shooting 7-for-10 from three-point range in the first half.

Ohio Men's Basketball Ben Roderick
Ohio’s Ben Roderick (3) sets up a play in the Bobcats’ game against Kent State on Jan. 16, 2021.

Ben Roderick led the team in scoring, but other unsung heroes became key factors. Junior Rifen Miguel and freshman Jalen White both contributed majorly to the cause for the Bobcats and made their impact on the floor after not getting playing time on the court for months.

“The bench had great energy, great production, and just did everything they needed to do,” said sophomore Ben Roderick. “When we were taking a break, they were doing well, and we were just cheering them on. We had a lot of fun.”

With a nine-point lead at the half, Ohio did not let up as the Bobcats racked up stops and pushed the lead to as many as 21 points. The collective effort and enthusiasm the team showed on the court was a spectacle to watch in the Convo.

After everything that has happened to this team, the Ohio Bobcats defeated Akron for the first time in two years 90-73.

Ohio will look to continue its momentum against Eastern Michigan at home on Thursday at 2 p.m.