Ohio Men’s Basketball Heads to NIU for Tuesday Night Matchup with the Huskies

Ohio Men’s Basketball Heads to NIU for Tuesday Night Matchup with the Huskies

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OHIO MEN'S BASKETBALL 2018-19 • GAME 20
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2019
6:30 p.m. ET | Ohio (11-8, 3-4 MAC) vs. Northern Ill. (11-9, 4-3 MAC) | NIU Convocation Center | DeKalb, Ill. | Live Stats | ESPN3 | Listen | Ohio Notes | NIU Notes

ATHENS, Ohio-- The Ohio men's basketball team (11-8, 3-4 MAC) returns to action on Tuesday, Jan. 29 when they Bobcats head to DeKalb, Ill. to take on Mid-American Conference West foe Northern Illinois (11-9, 4-3 MAC). Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. ET inside the NIU Convocation Center. 

Tuesday's contest will be broadcast on the WatchESPN App with Dave Bernhard and Carl Armato on the call. The game will also be on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with 'The voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call. Radio pregame coverage is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. ET with 'Countdown To Tipoff.'

SCOUTING NORTHERN ILLINOIS
NIU enters the contest with the Bobcats with an overall record of 11-9 overall and a 3-4 mark in MAC play. 

As a team, NIU is averaging 77.3 points per game and is shooting 49.6 percent from the field, 37.1 percent from three-point range and 70.7 percent from the free throw line. The Huskies are averaging 35.9 rebounds per game to go along with 12.4 assists, 5.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per contest. The Huskies also average 12.4 turnovers per game, while they force opponents to cough the ball up 14.7 times per game. 

Meanwhile, opponents are averaging 72.2 points per game and shot shooting 43.3 percent from the field, 36.0 percent from three-point range and 68.4 percent from the free throw line. Opponents also average 31.3 rebounds, 14.7 assists, 5.4 steals and 2.7 blocks per game. 

Individually, Eugene German is leading the Huskies with 20.8 points per game and is shooting 50.2 percent from the field, 43.1 percent from three-point range and 70.4 percent from the free throw line. Levi Bradley is averaging 15.3 points and 5.7 rebounds a game and is shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from three-point range. Meanwhile, Dante Thorpe is adding 13.5 points per game and a team-high 50 assists. Lacey James averages a team-leading 7.0 rebounds per game, while also recording a team-high 14 blocks. 

IN NIU'S LAST GAME
Northern Illinois is coming off of a 67-65 loss at Akron on Jan. 26. 

Eugene German scored a game-high 23 points, going 6-of-18 from the field, 3-of-8 from three-point range, 8-of-12 from the free throw line and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Dante Thorpe added 16 points and four rebounds, while Levi Bradley scored 14 points. 

Overall, NIU shot 42.0 percent from the field. 38.1 percent from three-point range and 75.0 percent from the free throw line. They grabbed 37 boards, dished out six assists, had one block, six steals and turned the ball over 17 times. 

Meanwhile, Akron shot 35.7 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the free throw line. They grabbed 33 boards, dished out 14 assists had two blocks and seven steals and only turned the ball over 13 times. 

SERIES HISTORY
This is the 55th all-time meeting between the two teams, with Ohio leading the all-time series, 35-19. The Bobcats and NIU last met on Jan. 5, with the Bobcats falling 72-66 in overtime inside the Convo. 

Despite the loss earlier this year, the Bobcats have won four out of the last five matchups with the Huskies. 

LAST TIME AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Ohio and NIU met earlier this season when the Huskies defeated the Bobcats, 72-66 in overtime inside the Convocation Center. 

Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) finished the game with 22 points, going 10-of-16 from the field, while also grabbing nine boards. Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) wrapped up the game with a career-high 14 points, going 3-of-7 from three-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished with nine points and a team-high four assists.

Overall, Ohio shot 43.6 percent from the field, 29.2 percent from three-point range and 44 percent from the free throw line, while NIU shot 41 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three and 76.5 percent from the free throw line. Both teams finished the game even in rebounds, with 38 apiece, while Ohio dished out 11 assists, had three steals and seven blocks compared to NIU's 12 assists, six steals and three blocks. 

For the Huskies, Lacey James finished the game with 20 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Eugene German who finished the game with 16 points and five assists. Dante Thorpe finished the game with 12 points, while Levi Bradley finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

LAST TIME OUT FOR OHIO
The Bobcats are coming off of a thrilling 78-74 victory over Ball State on Jan. 26 in Athens. 

Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) led the Bobcats with 16 points, all in the second half, going 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists and had a season-high three blocks. Block (Lincoln, Ill.) finished the game with 15 points, going 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-7 from three-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr.(McComb, Miss.) finished with 11 points, going 4-of-7 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range, while grabbing four rebounds and one block. Freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished with 10 points, going 5-of-8 from the field and registering two steals. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) finished the game with seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Overall, the Bobcats registered a 46.3 percent (31-of-67) field goal percentage, hit 29.2 percent (7-of-24) of their three-point shots and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) of their free throws. As a team, Ohio secured 14 assists and 37 rebounds, falling neck and neck with Ball State. The Bobcats compiled eight steals and five blocks compared to Ball State's eight and three, respectively. 

Ball State finished just ahead of Ohio with a 47.5 percent (29-of-61) field goal percentage, sinking significantly more three-point shots at 55.6 percent (10-of-18) and hitting 75.0 percent (6-of-8) of their free throws. The Cardinals only earned seven second-chance points, paling in comparison to Ohio's 18, and allowed 23 Ohio turnovers. Individually, Persons finished with a game-high 21 points, going 9-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range, while Mallers and K.J. Walton finished with 10 points each.

SCOUTING OHIO
The Bobcats enter the matchup with Northern Illinois with an overall record of 11-8 and a 3-4 mark in MAC play. 

Ohio is averaging 71.3 points per game. They are shooting 43.7 percent from the field, 30.8 percent from three-point range and 63.6 from the free throw line. The Bobcats are also averaging 38.8 rebounds a contest to go along with 14.5 assists, 7.4 steals and 4.0 blocks per game. 

Individually, Jason Carter is averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He is shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 35.1 percent from three-point range and 73.3 percent from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Teyvion Kirk is adding 15.1 points per game 6.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. 

Vander Plas is averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 42.2 from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc. 

Doug Taylor is leading the Bobcats with 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, while Jason Preston is shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 68.8 percent from the free throw line, while also adding 2.9 assists per game. 

CARTER'S RETURN ALREADY FELT
Carter has led the Bobcats in scoring in 13 of Ohio's 19 games, recording a double-double against Wilberforce, and scoring 24 points against Campbell. 

Carter also added a double-double against Austin Peay on Nov. 24, while trying a career-high with 25 points in that matchups and did the same thing on Dec. 1 against Marshall.  Carter added another double-double on Jan. 15 against Kent State, scoring 11 points and grabbing 13 boards. 

So far this season, Carter is averaging 16.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 73.3 percent from the free throw line. He has also jumped his three-point shooting percentage, shooting 35.1 percent overall and 47.6 percent since MAC play began. 

Carter was also named the MAC East Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 3. 

Carter's presence inside has also been huge, most notably on Dec. 30 when Carter grabbed an offensive board with just under 10 seconds to go and connected on the go-ahead basket in Ohio's 68-66 victory over FIU. 

On Jan. 8 at Bowling Green, Carter hit a new career-high with five made three-point baskets. 

BIG BEN ALERT
Ben Vander Plas' addition to the lineup as also been notability. The redshirt freshman, who missed all of last season due to injury, has been the Bobcats' biggest source off the bench, scoring 16 against Wilberforce, 15 against Campbell and 10 points against LMU. 

Right now, Vander Plas' biggest impact came on Nov. 27 against Iona, where he scored a career-high 18 points and 11 rebounds to register his first career double-double. 

Vander Plas would go on to tie his career-high of 18 points on Dec. 1 against Marshall. 

On Dec. 20 at Purdue, Vander Plas led the Bobcats with 15 points and tying a career-high with four made three-pointers. 

Vander Plas is averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting .422 from the field and .326 from three-point range.

TK GOING FOR ROUND TWO
Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk has picked up where he left off last season. 

Currently, Kirk is second on the team with 15.1 points per game. He also added 6.1 rebounds, while shooting 41.4 percent from the field. He has also recorded 44 total assists and 30 steals for the Bobcats.  

On Dec. 15 at Detroit Mercy, Kirk drained the game-winning three-pointer with under a minute to go to lead Ohio to a 63-61 victory. 

BLOCK PARTY
Doug Taylor, who currently registers 126 blocks in his career, which moves him into sixth all-time in program history. 

Taylor needs 13 more to pass Leon Williams for fifth all-time. 

OHIO IN THE MAC -TEAM
In the Mid-American Conference, the Bobcats currently rank fifth in rebounding offense (38.8), fourth in rebounding defense (34.2), third in rebounding margin (+4.7), fifth in offensive rebounds (11.5), fifth in defensive rebounds (27.3) and second in defensive rebounding percentage (.770). 

Ohio is also third in steals (7.4), fourth in blocked shots (4.0) and third in assists (14.3). 

OHIO IN THE MAC -INDIVIDUAL 
Individually, Carter is currently eighth in the MAC in scoring (16.3), while Taylor is ninth in rebounding (7.6) and seventh in field goal percentage (.557). 

Kirk is sixth in steals (1.6), while Taylor is second in blocked shots (1.9) and second in offensive rebounds (3.2). 

REBOUNDING MACHINES
One of the Bobcats' strengths during non conference play has been their rebounding. Currently the Bobcats average 38.8 rebounds per game and have a +4.7-rebounding margin. 

Ohio has won the rebounding battle in 10 out of 18 games this season, with a season-high 56 against Wilberforce in the season opener. 

Nationally, the Bobcats rank 62nd in rebounding margin, 56th in defensive rebounds, 77th in offensive boards and 42nd in total rebounds per game. Meanwhile, in the MAC, Ohio is fifth in rebounding offense (38.8), fourth in rebounding defense (34.2), third in rebounding margin (+4.7), fifth in offensive rebounds (11.5), fifth in defensive rebounds (27.3) and second in defensive rebounding percentage (.770). 

#CONVO50
Ohio announced on Dec. 3, 2018 - the 50th anniversary of the first game inside the Convocation Center - the plans for a 50th anniversary celebration for the Convo. 

Ohio Athletics will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Convocation Center on Saturday, Feb. 2 with a Sibs Weekend basketball doubleheader as the women's team battles Ball State at 1 p.m. ET and the men's team takes on Akron at 3:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the doubleheader are $5 and include admission to both games. 

The gameday atmosphere surrounding the doubleheader will have a throwback feel to it. Celebration elements are set to include:
• Men's team wearing 1968 throwback uniforms
• Women's team wearing 1980s throwback uniforms
• Cheer and dance teams and Rufus the Bobcat in retro gear
• Retro Ohio "Attack Cat" logo displayed on the court
• Retro music playlist
• Commemorative 50th anniversary posters fans in attendance• Men's basketball reunion attendees introduced to the crowd
• Women's basketball reunion attendees introduced to the crowd
•Internationally known entertainer, Red Panda, to perform at halftime of the men's basketball game

UP NEXT
The Bobcats return to Athens on Saturday, Jan. 2 for a matchup with Akron, tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. inside the Convocation Center. The game will also serve as the 50th Anniversary celebration for the Convo. Tickets will be $5 and Red Panda will perform at halftime. 

#BleedGreen