MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Despite a double-double from redshirt freshman forward Ben Vander Plas, who scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, the Ohio men's basketball team (11-13, 3-9 MAC) would drop an offensive battle to Central Michigan (17-8, 6-6 MAC) on Saturday afternoon, falling 87-78 inside McGuirk Arena.
Leading Ohio was Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) who finished the game with 24 points, going 10-of-15 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range, He also grabbed 13 rebounds, four assists, one block and two steals. Redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio), finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) also finished with 13 points, going 6-of-13 from the field. Freshman guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished with 11 points, going 5-of-12 from the field, while also dishing out four assists.
Ohio got on the board first when Preston drained a floater just seconds into the contest. CMU's first points would come from a free throw, however a steal and a dunk from senior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) would give Ohio a 4-1 lead. Central Michigan would then go on a 6-0 run before a layup from Carter would cut the CMU lead to one with 15:35 left in the half. After CMU would take an 11-6 lead, a three from Kirk would bring the Bobcats within two, before a layup from Carter would tie the game at 11 with 13:31 left.
CMU would continue to go on a few runs, never getting more than five points ahead of the Bobcats, taking a 20-15 lead with 10:13 left. Back-to-back layups from Preston and Kirk would cut the CMU lead to one. Then trailing by three with 8:21 left in the half, Vander Plas would drain a three, tying the game at 22-22 with 8:21 left. A layup and another three from Vander Plas would give Ohio a 29-25 lead with 5:35 left in the half.
After CMU would tie the game at 29-29, a layup from Kirk would and a jumper from Preston would put Ohio up 33-31. After CMU would tie the game up again, two free throws from Taylor would give Ohio a 35-33 lead with 1:17 left. However, CMU would capitalize on a layup and a three with 22 seconds left, giving Central Michigan a 38-35 lead entering the locker room.
At the half, the Bobcats shot 41.7 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from three-point range and 40.0 percent from the free throw line, while CMU shot 38.9 percent from the field, 18.2 percent from three-point range and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. The Bobcats were out rebounded, 25-23, but dished out five assists and had four blocks to CMU's three assists and two blocks. Ohio also scored 10 bench points and scored eight points off of turnovers.
CMU would get the first points of the half, taking a 40-35 lead a minute into the half. Ohio would battle, and a layup from Vander Plas would cut the lead to 40-37. Central Michigan would go on to take an eight-point lead with 16:23 left, however the Bobcats would come back within three after a Connor Murrell (Sioux City, Iowa) dunk, making the score 48-45 at the 14:47 mark.
Layups from Carter, Vander Plas and junior guard Antonio Cowart, Jr. (McComb, Miss.) would cut the CMU lead to two points with 12:47 left. Both teams would continue to trade baskets, and after a Murrell layup, the Bobcats would trail 56-55 with 10:51 left. However, back-to-back threes from CMU would put the Chippewas up 63-55 with 8:49 left in the game.
After CMU would go up nine, Ohio would immediately go on an 8-0 run with a Preston layup, and back-to-back threes from Vander Plas and senior forward/guard Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) would cut the CMU lead to 64-63.
CMU would go on to take a 71-65 lead, before a layup and three from Vander Plas would bring the game to 73-70 with 4:09 left. After a CMU layup and a Carter layup, the Bobcats would go into the final media timeout down 75-72.
A layup from Kirk with 2:40 left would cut the Ohio deficit two one once again, but CMU would go on to take a 79-74 lead with 1:32 left. A layup from Carter would bring the Bobcats' within three, however, that's as close as the Bobcats would get, and with CMU hitting their last eight free throws, the Bobcats would fall by the final of 87-80.
Overall, Ohio shot 47.9 percent from the field, 26.1 percent from three-point range and 30.8 percent from the free throw line, while CMU finished shooting 41.5 percent from the field, 27.8 percent from three-point range and 80.0 percent from the free throw line. Ohio was out rebounded, 42-41, while Ohio dished out 13 assists, had five blocks and six steals to CMU's seven assists, two blocks and four steals.
For CMU, Shawn Roundtree led the way with 22 points, going 5-of-12 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Larry Austin added 19 points and eight rebounds, while David DiLeo finished the game with 18 points, going 5-of-8 from the field. Kevin McKay and Rob Montgomery both scored in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Up next, the Bobcats head to Buffalo, N.Y. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 with the Bobcats take on no. 24/25 Buffalo. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Alumni Arena.