Ohio Men’s Basketball: Bobcats Continue to Roll, Extend Win Streak to Six< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — A six-game winning streak. It’s something the Bobcats haven’t achieved since the 2012-13 season, when Jim Christian was the head coach and D.J. Cooper led the charge for the Bobcats. Ohio won seven in a row and 12 of 13 games that season while sharing a MAC regular season title.
Despite all the craziness the past 11 months has given to the sports world, including the Ohio men’s basketball program, the 2020-21 Bobcats (13-6, 9-4 MAC) picked up their sixth-straight win on Thursday over Eastern Michigan (4-11, 1-10), 86-67.
Ohio had won four games in a row prior to a three-week hiatus due to COVID-related issues. The Bobcats have shown little to no rust in their first two games back.
“There’s no secret sauce,” Ohio head coach Jeff Boals said. “Our guys have just been great.”
The most glaring stat of Thursday afternoon’s contest was a program record 30 assists by the Bobcats. Those 30 assists led to 34 made field goals.
“That’s unbelievable,” Ohio redshirt junior Ben Vander Plas said. “We just did a great job of sharing the ball and guys were hitting shots. We did what we needed to do to get in the middle of [Eastern Michigan’s zone defense].”
Vander Plas set a milestone himself in the game, scoring his 1,000th career point midway through the second half.
“Obviously it’s a blessing,” Vander Plas said. “I’m very thankful to have been here for the past couple years and be able to hit that milestone. As cool as it is, it’s not what we’re looking for. The goal is to win a MAC Championship.”
Vander Plas finished the afternoon with 13 points.
Ohio regained some starters on Thursday. Jason Preston and Dwight Wilson III returned to action after missing Tuesday’s contest.
Preston was held scoreless in the first half but was an integral part of Ohio’s offense against the zone, dishing out eight assists in the opening half. Preston finished the game with eight points, nine rebounds and 12 assists.
Dwight Wilson III continues to be lethal down low for Ohio. Wilson was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field for 16 points. With just three regular season games left, that 7-of-7 performance put Wilson over 70 percent shooting on the season, which has never been achieved by a Bobcat in a season.
“[Wilson] has the greatest touch I have ever seen,” Vander Plas said of Wilson. “I don’t know how he does it. Sometimes it just looks like he flicks it up at the rim but it’s just cash every time.”
The Bobcats are looking to extend that win streak to seven games on Saturday. The Bobcats have a tall task at hand as Buffalo comes to Athens, a team Ohio defeated up in New York a month ago.
“The formula for us and the blueprint the last six [games] has been paint touches, post touches,” Boals said. “Then, on the defensive end, gaps and rebounding. That’s going to be huge on Saturday. I think we’re playing one of the top-two offensive rebounding teams in the MAC. They really push the basketball and got great players.”
“Like coach [Boals] always says, the best part about being on a six-game streak is you can be on a seven-game streak,” Vander Plas said.
Tip-off between the Bobcats and Bulls is scheduled for 2 p.m on Saturday from the Convocation Center.