After suffering its first loss against a Mid-American Conference opponent on Friday, Ohio took out its frustration by defeating Northern Illinois 74-62 inside The Convo.
It’s a win, but it’s a win Ohio will be eager to move on from. It suffered from long droughts when shooting from beyond the arc, and a late run by Northern Illinois almost cost Ohio the game.
Here are a few instant reactions to Ohio’s win over Northern Illinois:
Early runs get Ohio ahead
Ohio’s headache following its loss to Toledo on Friday carried over into the opening minutes Tuesday. Ohio tripped up early after missing its first six 3-point attempts and traded baskets with Northern Illinois.
But midway through the second half, Ohio shook its headache. It closed the half on two separate scoring runs and buried Northern Illinois before the break.
Two-pronged offense doing the heavy lifting
It’s no secret that Ohio’s offense lives and breathes with the game-by-game performances of Mark Sears. The sophomore hasn’t scored fewer than 10 points in a game this season and is Ohio’s scoring leader by a wide margin.
But he wasn’t alone.
Sears and Ben Vander Plas worked in tandem and dominated the floor. Sears continued his commanding season with a final tally of 26 points while Vander Plas clocked out with 15. Sears shot over 50% from the field, and both were near perfect on free throw attempts. The duo scored over half of Ohio’s points by themselves.
When the Bobcats got hot from beyond the arc, they lit up the Huskies. But they opened both halves with dismal 3-point performances. The Bobcats missed their initial six 3-point attempts. They scaled back on attempts, and their percentage from beyond the arc improved, but it took almost eight minutes of game time for the Bobcats to adjust.
The second half wasn’t much different. After Vander Plas knocked down a 3-point attempt to open the half, the Bobcats missed their next seven attempts.
Ohio is a team that depends on its 3-point abilities, for better or worse. If it can’t shoot well from the get-go, it’s only going to shoot itself in the foot as the season carries on.