Ohio continued its winning ways Tuesday night after it defeated Western Michigan 73-61 in The Convo.
After its blow out win over archrival Miami on Feb. 8, Ohio found ways to keep the Broncos at bay and avenge its early Mid-American Conference season loss to split the season series against the MAC West opponent.
Perhaps the most noticeable way they won Tuesday was the Bobcats usage of a smaller-than-usual lineup with Ben Vander Plas operating mostly at center.
The 6-foot-8-inch forward spent a majority of his evening on the block and in the paint acting as Ohio’s big man despite usually playing more on the wing or at the top of the key. The small lineup in descending order of Vander Plas, Connor Murrell, Jordan Dartis, Ben Roderick and Jason Preston experienced ample success once the Bobcats worked out their usual starting five in the first seven minutes and change in the second half.
That lineup, along with Miles Brown and Lunden McDay, contributed heavily for Ohio as they all logged well near or over 20 minutes of game time.
The Bobcats’ largest lead of the night was never more than eight points in minutes that mattered, however, because of Western Michigan’s knack for hitting one-off shots and its ability to effectively shoot mid-range.
Once again, the Bobcats (12-12, 4-7 MAC) started the game sluggish offensively with a 4-for-18 start, and they didn’t score their first points until nearly four minutes into the game after Sylvester Ogbonda made a layup for Ohio.
Once coach Jeff Boals began to roll with the smaller lineup, they contributed toward Ohio turning the rough start into a 9-for-14 finish in the first half and closed out the half on a 14-8 run.
Ohio will look to win its third consecutive conference game for the first time since the 2016-17 season when it travels to Kent State on Saturday for an East Division matchup.