[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Huge scoring run propels Ohio Men’s Basketball past Ball State

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — It seems like all the Ohio men’s basketball team is doing this year is winning.

The Bobcats easily took care of the Ball State Cardinals in a 87-63 win where every player that dressed saw the court. Ohio now improves to 8-1 in MAC play and 17-3 overall, tying its best start through 20 games in program history.

“I thought it was a great win for our program and our team today,” Ohio Head Coach Jeff Boals said. “I thought we came out and with great energy and efffort.”

The contest started out very evenly matched as both teams exchanged buckets throughout the first 10 minutes.

Jason Carter dominated the Cardinals defense early, scoring 11 of Ohio’s first 14. The fifth-year senior utilized his height and physical size to score multiple reverse layups, keeping Ohio in the game early.

Although neck and neck, both teams struggled with turnovers, continuously giving the ball back to the other team.

A balanced effort by both teams changed when the clock hit the 8:38 mark. Tied at 23, Ohio and Ball St were looking on ways to jump ahead of each other and the Bobcats found their golden opportunity. An elite half court press was implemented by head coach Jeff Boals and led to Ohio’s 21-0 run to end the first half.

The Cardinals went into halftime thinking that was the end of their scoring drought but again they were overwhelmed by the Bobcats. Ohio continued to run up the score and eventually were up 54-24 before the Cardinals could continually find the bottom of the net.

Ohio's Jason Carter (30) throws down a two-handed dunk in the first half of the Bobcats' game against Ball State on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.
Ohio’s Jason Carter (30) throws down a two-handed dunk in the first half of the Bobcats’ game against Ball State on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022.

The run by the Bobcats spanned over 15 minutes and ended as a 31-1 run. Ohio utterly dominated the Cardinals for almost half the game and did not look back.

Ohio’s big three of Mark Sears, Jason Carter, and Ben Vander Plas combined for 49 points and their valiant first half efforts had them all out by the 12:47 mark in the second. They all had a huge impact on the game as Carter and Vander Plas had 18 each and Sears led the team in assists (6).

Throughout those last 13 minutes Ohio had to find its on-court leadership in senior transfer Tommy Schmock. At one point the former Findlay guard was the only upperclassman on the floor for Ohio and had to find a way to orchestrate the offense.

“The big thing I kept telling him was just be simple. You got a couple freshmen out there with you. Just keep it as simple as possible with those guys. Just got to continue to play the right way,” Boals said about Schmock.

Schmock did just that. He helped freshmen IJ Ezuma and A.J. Clayton get involved on both ends of the floor and saw that Olumide Adelodun scoree his first points as a Bobcat.

The bench emptied out as the game played out and new transfer Luke Frazier scored his first points as well. All signs point to these freshman and younger players to only improve throughout their careers as Bobcats.

Ohio will play six games in the next 12 days and hope to continue their winning streak all the way through mid February.

Although players and coaches have said they are taking the season one game at a time, the one match Jeff Boals and Co. have circled on the calendar is a rematch between first place Toledo. Only a couple weeks ago the Rockets took down the Bobcats at home 87-69 and pushed them back a spot in the MAC standings. This rematch could put Ohio back into first place and give them a very favorable seeding in the MAC tournament.

The Bobcats will face Eastern Michigan (8-12, 3-6 MAC) on Thursday and look to conquer them as they prepare for the deadly Toledo Rockets.