Box Score (PDF)
OXFORD, Ohio -- Senior guard Mike Laster (Detroit, Mich.) and junior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) combined for 42 points to help the Ohio men's basketball team (14-16, 7-11 MAC) close out the 2017-18 regular season with a 75-66 win over Mid-American Conference East Division archrival Miami (15-16, 8-10 MAC) on Friday (March 2) at Millett Hall.
The Bobcats won for the fourth time in their last five games. Ohio is guaranteed of playing a road game in the first round of the 2018 MAC Tournament next Monday (March 5). Ohio will learn its tournament seeding and first-round opponent on Saturday (March 3) afternoon when the league office unveils the official bracket following the conclusion of the 11 a.m. ET game between MAC West Divison rivals Central Michigan and Western Michigan. If the Broncos win, Ohio will be the No. 9 seed and will play at No. 8-seeded Bowling Green. If the Chippewas win, the Bobcats will be the No. 10 seed and will play at No. 7-seeded Miami.
"Us as a team, we have one goal, and that's to win a MAC Championship, so we're taking it one game at a time," said Laster. "Just taking it possession-by- possession and making sure we get the right shots. Just doing the things we got to do. I mean, I'm not even getting into a losing mindset. I'm trying to do everything I can do to help us win."
Ohio has now won 14 of the last 15 meetings against the RedHawks -- including each of the last seven contests.
"It just feels good to get on a streak," said Dartis of the win. "We've won four of the last five. I will say this means a lot to the people back home in Athens and just beating Miami, it's just a good feeling. Like I said earlier this season in the press conference, we beat our rival."
Ohio shot 50 percent (27-of-54) from the field in the victory -- including 43.9 percent (7-of-16) from three-point range. The Bobcats overcame 17 turnovers to pull out the win. Miami converted just 41.5 percent (22-of-53) of their shots -- including going just 31 percent (9-of-29) from beyond the arc. The RedHawks made just 59.1 percent (13-of-22) of their free throw attempts.
Laster finished with a team-high 22 points while Dartis finished right behind him with 21. Laster made 10 of his 17 attempts from the field en route scoring at least 20 for the seventh time this year. He also chipped in four rebounds, three assists and a steal over 37 minutes. Dartis sank five of his six three-point attempts and six of his seven tries from the free throw line to finish with at least 20 points for the eighth time this season. He also contributed five rebounds in 30 minutes of work. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) nearly achieved a double-double with 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds. He also blocked a game-high three blocks and dished out two assists in 24 minutes.
Miami was led by freshman guard Nike Sibande, who scored a game-high 23 off 5-of-11 shooting from the field -- including four treys -- and 9-of-14 shooting from the charity stripe. He also distributed four assists, collected three steals and grabbed a rebound in 38 minutes. Freshman guard Jalen Adaway totaled 13 points, four rebounds and a block over 31 minutes. Senior forward Logan McLane shot 4-of-5 from the field en route to 10 points in addition to tallying four rebounds and a steal over 22 minutes. Freshman forward Dalonte Brown scored 10 points off 4-of-5 shooting -- including a pair of three-pointers -- and achieved a double-double courtesy of a game-high 10 boards. He also notched an assist and a block over 30 minutes of work off of the bench.
The Bobcats tallied the game's first five points off of a jumper by Laster and a trey by Dartis, but Miami answered with an 8-2 run to take its first lead of the game. The ensuing 10 minutes featured five ties as neither team established a lead of more than two points. A layup by Brown and a triple by Adaway gave the RedHawks a five-point lead at 30-25 with just over five minutes to play in the half, but the Bobcats quickly tied it back up thanks to a layup by freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) and a trey by Laster. Miami closed the half out on a 5-2 run, though, to take a 35-32 lead into the break.
Ohio opened the second half on a 16-10 run that was capped by a trey by redshirt sophomore guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.), putting the Bobcats up by three, 48-45. A three and a dunk by Brown allowed Miami to go back up by three two minutes later, but it marked the last lead of the contest for the RedHawks, as a three by Dartis tied the score and a layup by Laster gave the Bobcats a lead they never relinquished again. Dartis scored eight-straight points thanks in large part to knocking down two more treys, giving Ohio a 61-52 advantage with just under nine minutes to go. An 11-6 stretch that was capped off by a three by Sibande allowed the RedHawks to make it a four-point game at 67-63 with just under four minutes to play. The Bobcats held on for their second road win of the year, though, outscoring Miami by an 8-3 count over the final 2:44. Dartis scored 18 of his 21 points over the final 17:39 of regulation.