Ohio fell 87-80 at Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon, losing its fifth straight game and dropping nine of its last 12 games in Mid-American Conference play. The loss drops the Bobcats to 11-13 on the season in 3-9 in MAC play.
It was the first time in four games Ohio’s scored over 60 points.
Two straight games coach Saul Phillips has changed around the Bobcats’ starting five. On Saturday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, Phillips started Jason Preston. It was Preston’s 15th start of the season, but just his third of conference play.
Straight games Phillips’ has lost to the Chippewas. Over his five seasons in Athens, not one of his teams has beaten Central Michigan, and all have come against coach Keno Davis. Two seasons ago, Marcus Keene led the NCAA in scoring and beat the Bobcats twice, with 3s falling down from all parts of the floor.
Ohio’s losing streak is now five games long, and it’s hard to find the next win in sight. The Bobcats hit the road Tuesday to take on AP Top-25 ranked Buffalo, then play MAC East leader Bowling Green at home Friday. The Bobcats’ offense resurged Saturday, but missed shots in the first half came back to hurt.
Points from redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas. The big man continues to have a strong presence for the Bobcats, and Saturday was his best output yet. From knocking down big-time 3s to key layups, Vander Plas delivered when Ohio needed a scorer the most. He also tallied 13 rebounds, the second double-double of his career. He led the teamed in both assists and steals, as starter Doug Taylor was forced to sit for large chunks of the game due to foul trouble.