NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Led by a 27 point, 14 rebounds performance from sophomore guard Jason Preston, the Ohio men's basketball team improved to 3-0 on the season, defeating Iona (0-2), 81-72, Wednesday night (Nov. 13) inside the Hynes Center.
"I'm really proud with our effort level over 40 minute," first year head coach Jeff Boals said. "We knew it was going to be a forty minute game. They went to La Salle the other night and stormed back and made some threes in the second half and tied it up, We knew what was coming and like we did against St. Bonaventure, we bent but we didn't break."
Leading the way was Preston (Orlando, Fla.) with 27 points, going 10-of-17 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also grabbed a team-leading 14 rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals. Redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) finished with 13 points, going 3-of-8 from three-point range and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) finished with 13 points, going 5-of-8 from the field. Redshirt sophomore Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) wrapped up the game with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Overall, Ohio shot 55.8 percent (29-of-52) from the field, 52.0 percent (13-of-25) from three-point range and 71.4 percent from the free throw line, while Iona shot 42.1 (24-of-57) percent from the field, 32.0 percent (8-of-25) from three-point range and 88.9 percent from the free throw line.
Ohio outrebounded the Gaels, 27-25, while Ohio dished out 15 assists to Iona's 12. The Bobcats also forced 18 turnovers and scored 16 points off of them, while Iona forced 19 turnovers and scored 25 points off of them.
Iona recorded the first points of the game after the Gaels hit the first field goal three minutes in. After an Iona three to take a 5-0 lead, Vander Plas drained a three of his own to cut the lead to 5-3. Another Iona jumper was matched by a layup from Vander Plas, however the Gaels drained a three to make the score 9-5 going into the first media timeout.
Out of the media timeout, Vander Plas drained his second three of the game, followed by a three from McDay to put the Bobcats in the lead for the first time. After a three from Dartis, the Bobcats and Gaels traded baskets. Redshirt freshman forward Nate Springs (Charlotte, N.C.) hit a trey of his own, followed by two free throws from Dartis that gave Ohio a five-point lead. After a dunk from freshman center Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.), Iona hit a stepback jumper to cut the Bobcats lead to three entering the media timeout.
Out of the media timeout, Iona went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-23 lead, however McDay drained a three to put the Bobcats back up two. The Bobcats then went on a 10-0 run, capped by a three from graduate transfer forward Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) to give Ohio a nine-point lead before the Gaels hit a three to cut the lead to 30-24.
After the media timeout, Iona cut the lead to two, however a layup and a free throw from Preston gave the Bobcats a 36-31 lead going into halftime.
Preston ➡️ BVP ➡️ OH MY pic.twitter.com/fSeIG2GAZg— Ohio Men's Basketball (@OhioMBasketball) November 14, 2019
At the half, Preston led the way with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Vander Plas had eight points, followed by McDay with six.
As a team, Ohio shot 54.2 percent from the field, 58.3 percent from three-point range and 50.0 percent from the free throw line, while Iona shot 42 percent from the field, 21 percent from three-point range and did not attempt a free throw.
McDay opened the second half with a layup to extend Ohio's lead to seven. However, Iona would tie the game at 36-36 before a dunk from Vander Plas would help give Ohio a 42-36 lead entering the first media timeout.
Out of the media, Preston hit a layup from under the basket, however two free throws from Iona brought the game back within four. However, a three from Dartis and layups from Preston and McDay, gave Ohio an eight-point lead with 13:18 left. The Bobcats and Iona traded three-point baskets, with Dartis hitting his third of the game, giving Ohio a 52-44 lead entering the media timeout.
BVP WITH THE SLAM! pic.twitter.com/SCx9z9wIsO— Ohio Men's Basketball (@OhioMBasketball) November 14, 2019
A three-pointer from Preston out of the timeout gave the Bobcats an 11-point lead before Foster hit a layup to give the Bobcats their biggest lead of the game. After a three from Iona, redshirt freshman Mason McMurray (Stow, Ohio) hit a three of his own to give Ohio a 60-47 lead with 10:01 left in the game. Iona went on an 8-0 run to cut the Bobcats' lead to five, before McDay drained a three to give the Bobcats a 63-55 lead going into the media timeout.
After the timeout, the Bobcats and Gaels traded baskets over the next two minutes with Iona cutting the Ohio lead to 66-65 with 4:31 left. However, a dunk from Ogbonda, a three from Preston and another layup from Preston, put the Bobcats back up eight with 2:23 left in the game.
The Gaels brought the game back within five with 49 seconds left, however, the Bobcats hit their free throws over the remaining seconds, sealing the 81-72 victory.
Up next, The Bobcats continue their road trip on Saturday, Nov. 16 when Ohio heads to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on 10th ranked Villanova. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. inside the Wells Fargo Center and can be seen on FS2.