[Zach Paquette | WOUB]

Akron spoils Ohio Men’s Basketball’s senior night

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – The Ohio men’s basketball team had their senior night spoiled as the Akron Zips delivered their second loss in three games in the home stretch of the regular season.

Ohio honored seniors John Tenerowicz, Tommy Schmock, Jason Carter, and Ben Vander Plas as they took the court in the Convo for the last time.

Similar to its recent matchup against Kent State, Ohio got off to a rough start. The Zips played aggressively and forced the Bobcats out of their comfort zone.

After hanging around trailing only five points, Akron exploded on a 15-2 run late in the first half, and before the Bobcats knew it, they were down 46-26 heading into the locker room.

“They came out and punched us in the mouth. We didn’t pressure them. We didn’t take them out of anything they wanted to do,” senior forward Ben Vander Plas said. “They kind of just got to run through their offense how they probably practiced it.”

The fuel of the first half offensive surge for the Zips was Ali Ali, who scored 17 points while shooting 7-9 from the field.

Ohio's Ben Vander Plas attempts a layup in the first half of the Bobcats' game against Akron on Feb. 25, 2022.
Ohio’s Ben Vander Plas attempts a layup in the first half of the Bobcats’ game against Akron on Feb. 25, 2022.

The Bobcats dealt themselves an unfavorable hand, and Ohio head coach Jeff Boals emphasized the importance of chunking off Akron’s lead early in the second half before the first few media timeouts.

“Coming out I was telling them ‘hey we need to cut the lead to 13 in the first or second war,’ and after those two wars we were still even,” Boals said.

Akron kept their foot on the gas and kept Ohio out of reach. The Bobcats managed to chip away at the lead, but it was far too late for a comeback. Despite this, Ohio did not stop trying.

The Bobcats scored 23 points in the final two minutes going 6-7 from the three-point line in that span, and took advantage of the Zips’ poor free throw shooting to make the matchup slightly interesting.

Even after Ohio’s red hot crunch time display, Akron held on to win relatively comfortably 91-83. This loss drops Ohio out of the top seed for the MAC tournament with two conference games left in the season.

After losing his final game in Athens, senior Jason Carter remains thankful and appreciative of his final year spent as a Bobcat.

“This group of guys, they mean a lot to me, and with the way they’ve brought me in after leaving and everything,” Carter said.

Ohio looks to build momentum for the MAC tournament when it hits the road to face the Bowling Green Falcons. Tip-off Tuesday is set for 7 p.m.