Ohio Men’s Basketball dominates regional rival to earn eighth win of season< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – The Ohio Bobcats returned to action Wednesday night against a high-powered Marshall squad. The Bobcats embraced the challenge and dominated in a wire-to-wire fashion as Ohio never trailed the Thundering Herd, winning 75-65.
Marshall entered Wednesday’s contest averaging 83 points per game, but Ohio’s stingy and aggressive defense held the Herd to 65 points, tying their season low. The Bobcats defense forced 22 Marshall turnovers and limited the Marshall offense as they shot less than 38 percent from the field.
“I’ll have to look but this might be the third or fourth team that we’ve held to their lowest point totals this season,” head coach Jeff Boals said. “Our frontcourt defense has been really good this year.”
Despite Ben Vander Plas being held to just two points on the night, Jason Carter and Mark Sears had impressive nights on the offensive end. Sears led the Bobcats in scoring with 24 points while Carter added 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Ben Roderick was the other Ohio player to score in double figures as he added ten points. Miles Brown added eight points of his own, including two huge three-point field goals in the first half.
After a close opening 13 minutes of the first half, Ohio started to pull away in the game. The Bobcats would outscore Marshall 31-17 before taking a 53-36 lead with 14 minutes left in the game.
Marshall didn’t go down without a fight, but right as the momentum felt like it was shifting in favor of the Thundering Herd, Ohio would answer. Right before the under four-minute media timeout, Jason Carter recovered his missed shot, drove into the lane, drew contact, and slammed home the dunk, bringing the Convocation Center crowd to its feet. That would eventually extend the Bobcats lead to 12.
“We knew they were going to go on a run, which they did. We made enough plays down the stretch and got to the foul line, which was one of our keys today,” Boals said.
Marshall would again cut into the lead, getting as close as five points with less than two minutes to play. On the ensuing Ohio possession, Mark Sears created some space and nailed a three-pointer to give Ohio the eight-point lead. Marshall tried to get an answer of its own but was denied at the rim by Jason Carter as he plastered the layup attempt to the backboard.
“It wasn’t the original shot I wanted,” Mark Sears said. “It just happened to be there and I knocked it down with confidence.”
At times, this contest felt closer than what it actually was. It felt like Marshall was going to go on a 10-0 run at any point to tie or take the lead in the game. Give Ohio the credit they deserve.
They didn’t let Marshall gain a lot of momentum and find consistent scoring. When it felt like Marshall was gaining momentum, the Bobcats answered with big buckets and strong defense.
With the win, Ohio improves to 8-2 on the season. They’ll close out their non-conference slate when they take on SC Upstate on December 21. After that, Ohio will begin its conference schedule when they take on Eastern Michigan on December 28.
If Ohio beats SC Upstate next Tuesday, they’ll close out the non-conference schedule with wins in nine of their 11 games, with the two losses coming to LSU, who was undefeated as of Wednesday night, and Kentucky. Wednesday night’s win against Marshall should boost Ohio’s tournament resume, especially with the dominating fashion that they won.
“We say it all the time, but we feel like we have a lot of room to improve and as Coach (Boals) always says, it’s a lot more fun to learn from winning than losing,” Jason Carter said. “I think we are doing a good job of taking it one game at a time and not getting caught up in the win streaks.”
Of course, March is a long way away and Ohio has a conference schedule and postseason tournament to focus on before worrying about March.