Jeff Boals doesn’t consider it a revenge win.
To him, Ohio can’t compare its 75-65 win over Marshall to the previous time the two programs squared off. When the Bobcats (8-2) last faced the Thundering Herd last season, they were walloped by 14 points and were playing with a vastly different lineup.
This year, however, things were different. The Bobcats trampled Marshall by double figures and won their sixth-straight game in The Convo.
Does it feel like a revenge win? No. But that doesn’t take away from Ohio’s performance. It held Marshall to its lowest point total all season and forced a season-high 22 turnovers.
“Our half-court defense has been really, really good this year,“ Boals said. “We knew that they would make a run, which they did. We made enough plays down the stretch and got to the free throw line. Got to the paint, jump stopped for about 90% of the game and got to the foul line, which you know, that was one of our keys today.”
Once Ohio gained the lead after Ben Vander Plas sank a layup 34 seconds into the game, it never lost it. There were close calls, like when Marshall went on a 9-2 run in the closing minutes to shave Ohio’s lead down to five points. But even then, Ohio kept itself together. A slam dunk from Jason Carter and a step-back 3-pointer from Mark Sears sutured holes in the offense while Ohio kept ahead of Marshall.
Carter’s dunk and Sears’ 3-pointer were Ohio’s only field goals in the final five minutes of the game.
But when their offense slipped, the Bobcats stuck to defense. They shut down what might’ve been the biggest threat to their winning streak. Taevion Kinsey — Marshall’s guard who ranked ninth in the nation for points per game ahead of Wednesday — didn’t score a majority of his 15 points until the second half. The junior had scored 20 points or more in all but one game this season prior to Wednesday.
Against Ohio, Kinsey stalled out. The guard shot 4-for-18 from the field and recorded seven turnovers. Marshall had 22 turnovers by the end of the night.
“That's an NBA Draft prospect, so you know he's obviously big on a scouting report,“ Carter said. “I think we did a really good job of ... switching one through five today just to contain everybody from getting downhill and throwing lobs ... He's a good player, so he's gonna get his points but you try to make them as tough as possible.”
While Ohio kept Marshall’s top scorer at bay, Carter and Sears ran rampant. The pair accounted for 32 of Ohio’s 36 points scored in the second half. Ohio usually spreads out possessions among its roster and has had five players score in double figures three times this season. Sears and Carter, however, were the leading men Wednesday.
“It definitely wasn't by design it’s just how it happened,“ Carter said. “They were double in the post in the second half so that left me open a few times on the baseline and Mark got on his little run where he's getting out of transition or out of mismatch and getting downhill. That's just playing basketball like (Sears) said and getting what the other team gives us.”
Five weeks into the season and at the tail end of nonconference play, the Bobcats remain undefeated in The Convo. Five of their six home wins have been by double figures. This fact isn’t lost on the Bobcats. Sears acknowledged it in his postgame press conference. He also remembered when the Herd beat the Bobcats last season.
It wasn’t a revenge win. Ohio calls it what it is: another win in The Convo.