AKRON — Ohio dismantled Akron 73-49 on Saturday afternoon at James A. Rhodes Arena behind 20 points from Ben Vander Plas and a clean performance by the backcourt.
The Bobcats (13-15, 5-11 Mid-American Conference) picked apart the Zips defense, which was ranked first in the MAC entering Saturday.
Akron shot 29 percent from the field and only made 17 field goals. Ohio, meanwhile, was hot from beyond the arc, knocking down nine 3-pointers.
Saturday’s win over Akron (15-14, 7-9 MAC) gives Ohio its third road win this season, and it’s the first in almost two months. The Bobcats beat Detroit Mercy on Dec. 15 and Ball State on Jan. 12.
Since beating Ball State on the road in January, Ohio had lost six straight road games, all coming in conference play, most recently in Tuesday’s loss at Kent State. The win over Akron also marks the first time Ohio has beaten Akron on the road since 2014.
Akron has only lost three games this season at home.
Teyvion Kirk and Jason Preston are playing their best basketball right now, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bobcats, who have won two of their last three following a six-game losing streak.
Kirk and Preston combined for just one turnover in the win, and Preston notched his third straight game without a turnover. Kirk had 11 points to add to his clean game. Overall, Ohio had 19 assists on 26 field goals made, making the road win a team win.
With just two regular season games remaining, Kirk and Preston will be key for the Bobcats entering the MAC Tournament.
The Zips scored the first basket of the game, but the Bobcats dominated throughout. Ohio led by as many as 31 points; that lead came in the second half. Akron’s offense looked inept, and Ohio found success against the Zips’ No. 1 defense in the MAC.