Ohio has spent the last month mired by close losses, disappointing finishes and inconsistent play. With a 2-7 Mid-American Conference record, the Bobcats were far from perfect form when they entered their Saturday contest against rival Miami in this season’s first “Battle of the Bricks” matchup.
That didn’t matter, however, in Ohio’s 77-46 thrashing of Miami, who missed on 24 consecutive field goals in a 17-minute span in the first half and allowed the Bobcats to build their most comfortable — and timely — win of the season in The Convo.
Ben Vander Plas led the Bobcats with 18 points and four players finished with double-digit points. One of them was Jason Preston, who recorded the second triple-double in Ohio history and first since D.J. Cooper in 2011 with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
But the most satisfying part, perhaps, was how flat Miami fell in the 206th meeting between the two MAC East Division rivals.
Ohio entered halftime with a massive 34-11 lead because of Miami’s shooting woes, which included plenty of missed layups, 3-pointers and even a botched dunk.
The RedHawks improved from a 10% field-goal percentage in the first half to 42% in the second half, but the game was essentially over at the 14-minute mark — that’s when Ohio hit its 48th point. The Bobcats could’ve missed every shot for the rest of the game and still won.
A blowout is what Ohio needed, though. The Bobcats snapped a four-game losing streak and won their first MAC game against an opponent other than Eastern Michigan, who opened the conference season with seven consecutive losses.
Jordan Dartis also became Ohio’s 3-point leader when he hit his 291st career 3 for the Bobcats’ first points of the afternoon. The redshirt senior guard passed Nick Kellogg, who was with the Bobcats from 2011-2014, on the program’s all-time 3-point list.
The Bobcats still have plenty of work to do to improve their potential landing spot for the MAC Tournament in March, but they can win back-to-back games for the first time since nonconference play early December if they defeat Western Michigan on Tuesday in The Convo.