Ohio Men’s Basketball back in win column thanks to another solid night from Sears< < Back to
ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Ohio men’s basketball team gained a much-needed bounce-back win against Northern Illinois Tuesday evening.
After a loss to a feisty Toledo team on Friday in front of a packed Convo, Jeff Boals and his team took care of business against the Huskies fairly easily, 74-62.
What started as a slow game for both teams turned into a game of multiple scoring runs and subpar three-point shooting. NIU registered one assist and no three pointers in the first half, all while having the fourth best three-point field-goal percentage in the MAC. Eventually the Bobcats were the team to capitalize on these runs, winning by a substantial margin of 12 points.
Ohio is still second in the MAC at 6-1 (15-3 overall) and Northern Illinois falls to 2-4 (5-11 overall).
To say the game began slow is an understatement. It took either team until the twelfth minute to reach double figure points. The game felt staggered early as both teams continuously committed fouls that slowed the pace of scoring opportunities. Although the two teams were rusty at first it was the Bobcats who shook off the rust first. A little before the eight minute mark the score was 19-16 Ohio, yet the half ended 41-22 in favor of the Bobcats. This late run towards the end of the half was mostly thanks to the dangerous duo of Ben Vander Plas and Mark Sears. 12 of the 22 points scored during that stretch were scored by either BVP or Sears. The sophomore/senior combo did not stop scoring just because the halftime buzzer sounded as they continued their efforts to combine for 41 of the 74 points Ohio scored in the match.
Coming into the matchup, the Bobcats were wary of NIU’s sophomore sensation Keshawn Williams who had scored 78 points over the past three games. However, this threat of the elusive sharpshooter that is Williams was not prevalent in Tuesdays game. Ohio shut down Williams and the rest of the Huskies, running man-to-man, zone, and a full court press throughout different stages of the game. The different defensive schemes Boals drew up to stop Williams worked and held him to his lowest field goal percentage in his last four games, 41.6%.
Mark Sears had won four MAC Player of the Week awards previous to the game and after Tuesday’s performance,
there should be no reason why he can not make it five. The Alabama native put up a spectacular 26 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Sears this season is his jump in improvement from year one to year two. Last season Sears had to sit behind one of the most crafty guards in all of college basketball and now NBA player Jason Preston. Now, Sears is embracing his role as the teams point guard and even played all 40 minutes in Tuesday’s contest.
After the game head coach Jeff Boals commented on Sears’ improvement.
“We talked to him about his role is going to be bigger and he put the time and effort into it,” Boals said. “He’s starting to watch a lot more tape. The response he had from Friday night to tonight shows some maturity on his part. He is going to continue to keep getting better and better.”
Following Tuesdays win, Ohio travels north on Friday and take on the formidable Buffalo Bulls. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.