ATHENS, Ohio – Led by redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio) who registered a team-high 24 points, senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) who registered 14 points, and freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) who registered 12 points, the Ohio men's basketball team (2-0) defeated Campbell (1-2), 81-73, in a comeback performance on Monday (Nov. 12) inside the Convocation Center.
"I liked our guys composure when they were down early on," said fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips, "In the second half the team made a considerate effort to get the ball to the front of the rim. I thought our execution against their significant pressure there late was really good. If you get to the free throw line 33 times you are going to win a pretty good chunk of games."
Carter, finished the game 8-of-10 from the field as well as 8-of-10 from the free throw line and added four rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 30 minutes of play. Taylor, recorded a double-double going 4-of-5 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line for his 14 points and compiled a game-high 10 rebounds, while chipping in three assists in 27 minutes. Preston, went 3-of-5 from the field, 2-of-3 from behind the arc, and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. He also chipped in four rebounds and a steal in his 34 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) and redshirt freshman Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) also tallied 14 points apiece for the Bobcats. Kirk went 5-of-12 from the field and added seven rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. Vander Plas went 5-of-9 from the field and added three rebounds, a block and a steal in 18 minutes of work.
"We came in the locker room at halftime, nobody was freaking out or anything," said Carter. "Everybody was still positive, and we just had to make some adjustments. At the end of the day with all the adjustments too we just had to sit down and continue playing d. They are a good team, they were hitting some tough shots and some of that you just have to live with."
Down seven with just under twelve minutes left in the first half, Ohio struggled offensively going 5-of 16-for a 31 percent field goal percentage and 0-of-3 from behind the arc. Campbell capitalized on its shot attempts going 6-of-10 for a 60 percent field goal percentage and 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Ohio forced five turnovers, capitalizing on four, and outscored Campbell, 12-4, on points scored in the paint. However, Campbell held Ohio scoreless for over two minutes that increased the lead to 11 as halfway through the first half approached.
Two consecutive three-point baskets for Preston sparked an Ohio run that brought the Bobcats back to within four with eight minutes left to play in the first half. Vander Plas entered with a hot hand tallying two three-point baskets alongside a steal and a block shot that shrunk the Campbell lead to a one possession, 32-29, lead with under five minutes left till halftime. Campbell ended the run by capitalizing on an Ohio foul and an Ohio turnover but Vander Plas, again with a pair of three-point baskets, brought Ohio within one, 36-35, with just under two minutes left in the first half. Campbell scored five quick points to end the first half ahead, 41-35.
"My comfort level is pretty high. All the guys on the team every time I catch the ball they want me to shoot it," said Vander Plas. "They know I can shoot, and they want me to so that makes me really comfortable out there."
At the end of the first half, Ohio registered a 41 percent (14-of-34) field goal percentage compared to Campbell who registered a 60.9 percent (14-of-23) field goal percentage. Ohio racked 10 assists and forced nine turnovers, while Campbell racked seven assists and forced only six turnovers. However, Campbell was able to turn six turnovers into 13 points while Ohio was only able to score 10 points off its nine forced turnovers. As a team the Bobcats and the Camels both compiled 17 total rebounds. Ohio was able to attempt only two free throws capitalizing on one while Campbell attempted 10 free throws capitalizing on six. Campbell was able to hold Ohio scoreless on fast break points compared to their 16 fast break points.
Ohio outscored Campbell 11-5 to begin the second half, tying the score at 46 apiece with under 14 minutes left to play. Senior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) registered a three-point basket that gave Ohio its first lead of the game, ahead 49-48, with twelve minutes remaining. Ohio continued to capitalize on its lead increasing the gap to six, 57-51, with under eight minutes to play.
The Camels attempted to battle back but with Ohio shooting 12-of-19 from the field for a 63.2 percent field goal percentage and capitalizing on being in the double bonus registering 12 trips to the free throw line, Campbell remained in a game of catch-up with under two minutes to play down 71-60.
Behind Carter's 18 second half points, Ohio outscored Campbell 46-32 in the second half and held Campbell to a 31 percent (10-of-32) field goal percentage to clench the victory.
"One thing that we were worried about against the 1-2-2 is being up against the shot clock so we tried to run a little more motion-based stuff in the first half," stated Phillips, "The second half we just started calling plays like we normally do and lesson learned. We need to get back to what we do well. It was an adjustment in scheme but more importantly than that it was a team embracing that adjustment and executing it."
Ohio finished the game with a 49 percent (26-of-53) field goal percentage and 40 total rebounds compared to Campbell who finished the game with a 43 percent (24-of-55) field goal percentage and 32 total rebounds. Ohio registered 17 total assists to Campbells' 13 and racked six total blocks compared to one for the Camels.
"You can't just drive down in a zone and get to the rim," said Carter. "You have to move the ball, get guys shifting, and guys have to knock down open shots and that's what we did."
Chris Clemons, one of the nation's leading scorers entering the night, finished with 26 points over 38 minutes to lead Campbell in scoring, while also compiling a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a game-high three steals. Issac Chatman added 16 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes followed closely behind by Andrew Eudy who registered 12 points, one block and three rebounds in 28 minutes for Campbell. Ja'cor Nelson chipped in a team-high four assists and a steal in 24 minutes for the Camels.
The Bobcats will return to action as they head to Montego Bay, Jamaica to take part in the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic. The Bobcats will take on South Florida on Friday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m., before taking on Loyola Marymount on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. Fans can catch both games on CBS Sports Network.