Ohio Men’s Basketball glides past Capital with convincing victory in exhibition game< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It was the first time in almost twenty months that fans were able to attend an Ohio basketball game at the Convocation Center. And it was well worth the wait.
After coming off an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and a MAC championship last year, fans certainly had lots to cheer for this Saturday when the Bobcats hosted the Capital Comets. Prior to the match, the team unveiled their MAC championship banner. But for guard Mark Sears, the mission for Ohio has only just begun:
“It’s motivation for us to do it again,” Sears said. “Being there and experiencing what had happened last season is just inspiring us and everybody on the team to want to do it again.”
Despite starting the game 1-4 from the three-point line, the Bobcats sprung out to an early 19-7 lead thanks to their elite defensive display. They forced Capital to commit six turnovers in the opening eight minutes. Ohio star forward Ben Vander Plas would help contribute to the first half dominance by securing three rebounds and dishing out two assists.
However it was Cleveland native Tommy Schmock who put on a show for the nearly six thousand fans at The Convo. In his debut performance as a Bobcat, Schmock dropped seventeen points in eighteen minutes; all in a very efficient 7-9 from the field.
Now that Ohio’s star guard from last year, Jason Preston, has found a new home with the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA, it will be more important than ever for Schmock to get acquainted with his new teammates in Athens. And so far, he is off to a terrific start.
“I’ve loved it. Off the court, we get along real well. That was one thing I was kind of worried about, but everyone gets along and on the court, it’s like a family, brotherhood. And we’ve been just picking each other up, taking it day by day.”
Another bright spot in the Bobcats’ commanding 92-66 beatdown was the play of Sam Towns. Last year, the Columbus local out of Pickerington High School Central played in fifteen games for Ohio last season. And since with Dwight Wilson III (Ohio’s leading rebounder last year) will be missing a significant portion of the upcoming campaign due to knee surgery, the squad needs another strong interior presence to take his place for the time being.
And so far, Towns has impressed. This Saturday against Capital, he finished with six points and a game-high seven rebounds. Ohio will need every ounce of that in their first official regular season game against Belmont this Tuesday.
After the game, Head Coach Jeff Boals discussed one major change his team will see as their season progresses.
“When you go from the exhibition scrimmages to non-conference, the intensity level goes up,” Boals said. “And then when you go from non-conference to league it goes up even more. So I think for us, it’s realizing, Tuesday’s real. I think that’d be the biggest thing, just more of an awareness.”
Even though the game against Belmont is still up for grabs, one thing is for certain. The Ohio Bobcats mean business once again this year. And their imposing 92-66 win is just a glimpse of what this team’s ceiling is for the season.
Tipoff against Belmont will be at the Convo at 7:00 p.m.