KENT, Ohio – The Ohio men’s basketball team (22-5, 13-3 MAC) returned to action Friday night (Feb. 18), falling to Kent State (17-9, 12-4 MAC) 75-52 on the road inside the M.A.C. Center.
“It’s one game,” head coach Jeff Boals said. “We didn’t answer the bell for the first time all year. They came out ready to play and got on us early and delivered the first second third blow. Then we started 0-for-15 from three. You know, you need a couple of those to go. But they’re good looks and when one doesn’t go, then the second doesn’t go it becomes mental. But second half we came out and competed and played really hard. And I was most proud to see that effort level the second half.”
Individually, redshirt fifth year forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) led the Bobcats with 12 points and five rebounds, while redshirt senior forward Ben Vander Plas added 10 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Mark Sears (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) added 10 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Overall, Ohio shot 21.1 percent from the field, 17.9 percent from three and were 23-of-33 from the line, while Kent State shot 52 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from three and were 15-of-19 from the line. Kent State outrebounded the Bobcats, 39-28 and dished out 15 assists to Ohio’s seven.
Ohio won the tip, but Kent State got on the board first, taking a 6-0 lead before the Bobcats got on the board with two free throws from junior guard Miles Brown (Rochester, N.Y.). After the free throws, Kent State added two more jumpers, taking a 10-2 lead going in to the first media timeout. Kent State took a 16-2 lead before two free throws from junior forward Ben Roderick (Powell, Ohio) cut the score to 16-4. Kent State extended their lead to 23-4 before Ohio got their first field goal, a layup from Roderick with 9:08 left in the half. The Bobcats’ offense never really got going in the half, going to half trailing 45-15.
At the half, Ohio shot eight percent from the field, and were 0-of-15 from three, however they were 11-of-12 from the line. Meanwhile, Kent State shot 55.2 percent from the field, 70 percent from three and were 6-of-7 from the line. Kent State outrebounded Ohio 21-16.
Individually, Vander Plas led with eight points and five rebounds, while Roderick had four points.
The second half started better for the Bobcats, with Vander Plas getting a layup on the first possession. After a Kent State basket, Carter drained Ohio’s first three of the game before he registered a layup and a free throw to cut the Ohio deficit to 51-24 going into the first media timeout. Out of the timeout, a three and layup from Sears and Carter got the Bobcats going offensively, however, Kent State matched the effort, taking a 62-31 lead with 11:56 remaining in the game.
Out of the timeout, Ohio was able to go on a 10-3 run to help cut the Kent State lead to 65-41 with 7:43 remaining in the game. After a Carter three, Kent State hit six-straight free throws to increase the Ohio deficit to 73-44 with 3:21 left in the game.
Out of the timeout, freshman forward AJ Clayton (Duncan Falls, Ohio) hit two threes over the final two minutes, however, the Bobcats would fall by the final of 75-52.
Kent State had four score in double figures and were led by Malique Jacobs with 14 points and nine rebounds and Giovanni Santiago with 14 points.
Up next, the Bobcats are back in Athens on Tuesday, Feb 22 when Ohio hosts Central Michigan, Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.
COURTESY OHIO ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS