Jordan Dartis is vital to Ohio’s success. Anyone following the Bobcats knows that.
Dartis showed (again) just how important he is Friday night, as he scored 22 on 6-of-12 3-point shooting, pushing Ohio (4-0) past Tennessee Tech (1-5) 68-57 at The Convo.
The Bobcats are 4-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season — when Ohio was the Mid-American Conference favorite and advanced to the National Invitation Tournament.
Jaaron Simmons added 12 points and seven assists Friday. Freshman Jason Carter had 17 points off the bench. Antonio Campbell had an off night: six points and 10 rebounds. He had just two points in the first half.
But Friday was mostly Dartis’ game to control.
Ohio starter Kenny Kaminski was out with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Rodney Culver, who made his first collegiate start. Even with Ohio’s usual lineup (Simmons, Campbell, Block) in tact, it was Dartis who kept the Golden Eagles’ defense honest.
The Bobcats shot 37 percent from the field Friday, with Dartis shooting 43 percent. The rest of Ohio’s starting five? Just a combined 10-of-36.
The Golden Eagles finished the night with 41 percent shooting. Aleksa Jugovic led Tennessee Tech with 20 points.
The matchup was relatively sluggish — foreshadowed by Ohio’s slow start. The Bobcats shot just 4-14 on 3-pointers in the first half.
Tennessee Tech lead 20-11 just 10 minutes into the first half. But, the duo of Simmons-Dartis happened.
Simmons hit a 3-pointer, followed by a quick 5-0 run by Dartis to even the score at 24.
From there: Ohio remained in control — even if the offense wasn’t at its best — heading into the half on a 20-5 run.
The Bobcats defense, which Ohio worked on all preseason, won out Friday.
Ohio will play Marshall on Wednesday at the Cam Henderson Arena in Huntington, West Virginia. Tip off is at 7 p.m.