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Ohio University guard, Miles Brown (2), takes the ball to the basket with heavy defense from Ball State during the home game on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, in Athens Ohio.

Men's Basketball: During a testing week, a spontaneous roadtrip to Raising Cane's gave Ohio respite

It has been a long, long week for Ohio.

On Jan. 16, the Bobcats lost 89-79 to Kent State and were outrebounded 45-21, which raised questions about their capability on defense.

On Tuesday, they flew out to DeKalb, Illinois to face Northern Illinois, only for the game to get canceled shortly after arrival.

All Ohio (8-6, 4-4 Mid-American Conference) wanted to do was win. Ohio wanted to prove it deserved to be in the race for the MAC. Players were getting tougher on each other while watching film. Ball State was coming to Athens on Friday, and the Bobcats needed a rebound after Kent State.

And then the power went out.

Widespread power outages across Southeast Ohio on Friday forced Ohio’s game in the Convo against Ball State to be postponed until Saturday. On top of that, it had to be played between the women’s volleyball team’s impromptu doubleheader against Central Michigan, when the first game was cut short. 

Most of the players knew it was coming. Jason Preston had gotten notifications on his phone saying the lights would come back on by 6 p.m. at the latest. And when the clock struck 6 p.m., the Bobcats were an hour from tipoff and warming up on a court dimly lit by the few overhead lights hanging in the rafters.

After the game was officially postponed, the players learned tipoff wouldn’t be until 1:30 on Saturday. A full night with no power and nothing to do.

In the middle of a blackout, and with only time to kill until Saturday morning, what did the Bobcats do? 

They packed together in their cars and drove to Columbus for Raising Cane’s.

An hour-and-a-half drive for fried chicken may seem ludicrous, but when the streetlights in Athens don’t work, all bets are off. Half the team wanted to get out of town, and it gave the Bobcats who did go time to bond.

“We had a good time,“ freshman point guard Mark Sears said about the road trip. “We just stayed together and I feel like we built really good chemistry.”

Sears got his usual order that night: a Caniac Combo with six chicken fingers, fries, coleslaw and toast. He said his go-to chicken restaurant is Zaxby’s, but Cane’s blows the competition out of the water. 

After Saturday, it seems like a spontaneous roadtrip for food was just what the Bobcats needed. A 85-77 win over Ball State (6-7, 4-4 MAC) may not be the big win they were looking for, but the Bobcats won the rebound game 45-34 and have been given a confidence boost.

Among those who went, Sears scored a team-high 19 points with five rebounds and two assists, and Jason Preston recorded his second career triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Coincidentally, Preston’s first triple-double occurred less than a week after Jeff Boals took the Bobcats to Dairy Queen last season.

Maybe the roadtrip gave the Bobcats a way to unwind amidst the craziness of the blackout. Maybe the Bobcats were looking for a win and needed to blow off steam after a trying week. Maybe Preston just runs off of fast food. Whatever it was, Ohio’s spirits are incrementally higher than they were last Saturday, and you can thank Cane’s for that.


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