CONWAY, S.C. – Redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis led the Bobcats with 32 points, helping the Ohio men's basketball team (4-3) wrap up the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational with a 75-63 victory over Middle Tennessee State (3-4) Sunday night (Nov. 24) inside the HTC Center.
"Six of our seven games have been away from home and going into this game we talked about someone's going to leave here 0-3, somebody's going to be 1-2," head coach Jeff Boals said. "The tougher team was going to win and I thought we were the tougher team and I'm proud of our guys for competing. We knew by the way they played defense that Jordan (Dartis) was going to get some great looks. He struggled the last three games against great competition. He needed one to go in and once he got that first one, he got a lot of great looks and eight threes, he was huge for us. The biggest thing is we leave here with a win."
Dartis (Newark, Ohio) finished the game with a season-high 32 points, going 9-of-18 from the field, 8-of-13 from three-point range and 6-of-8 from the free throw line, while grabbing two rebounds and dishing out four assists. Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) finished with 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds, while graduate transfer Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) finished the game with a career-high 12 points, going 5-of-8 from the field. Redshirt sophomore Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) finished with a team-high 11 rebounds.
Overall, Ohio shot 42.1 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from three-point range and 68 percent from the free throw line, while Middle Tennessee shot 37.3 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from three-point range and 92.9 percent from the free throw line. MTSU out-rebounded the Bobcats, 38-34, while Ohio dished out 16 assists to the Blue Raider's 13. Ohio also forced 16 MTSU turnovers and scored 17 points off of them.
For MTSU, C.J. Jones and Antonio Green both scored 13 points, while Tyson Jackson led the Blue Raiders with seven rebounds.
After MTSU opened the game up with a three, the Bobcats countered with a three from Dartis to tie the game. Both teams traded baskets over the next three minutes, with the Blue Raiders taking a four-point lead into the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Preston hit two free throws, followed by a Roderick layup that tied the game at 11-11. Then off of a steal from Vander Plas, Preston set up a Dartis three to give Ohio a 14-11 lead going into the under-12 media timeout. After MTSU brought the game within one, another Bobcat three, this one from Ogbonda and then a layup from Preston put the Bobcats up six. After a Blue Raiders jumper brought the score to 19-15, a layup and a free throw gave Ohio a 22-17 lead going into the next media timeout.
After MTSU cut the Ohio lead to three, a Dartis three and a turnaround jumper from freshman forward Ben Roderick (Powell, Ohio) gave the Bobcats a nine-point lead. Dartis then drained his fifth three of the game, giving Ohio a 33-21 lead with 3:51 left in the first half.
After Dartis hit two free throws to put Ohio up 14, five-straight points from MTSU cut the lead to 35-26. However, Ogbonda sparked a 7-0 Bobcat run that included a three from freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio). However, the Blue Raiders went on a 4-1 run to close out the half, sending the game to the locker room with the Bobcats leading, 43-29.
At the half, the Bobcats shot 48 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 86 percent from the free throw line, while Middle Tennessee shot 37 percent from the field, 31 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line. The Blue Raiders out-rebounded Ohio 19-14, however, the Bobcats dished out 11 assists to MTSU's seven and recorded seven steals to the Blue Raiders' one. Ohio also forced 10 MTSU turnovers and scored 14 points off of them.
Ohio opened the second half on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 50-31. After an MTSU jumper, Dartis drained his sixth three of the night to give Ohio a 53-33 lead with 15:28 left in the game. After another three from Dartis extended Ohio's lead to 57-37 with 13:19 left, the Blue Raiders went on a 6-0 run to cut the Bobcats' lead to 14, forcing Ohio to burn a timeout with 12:17 left in the game.
The Bobcats and Blue Raiders traded baskets over the next six minutes, with the Bobcats able to keep their lead at 15 with just under seven and a half minutes to go in the game. Out of the timeout, Ohio went on an 8-4 run to extend Ohio's lead to 71-54 going into the final media timeout. Out of the timeout, Dartis hit his eighth three of the night, helping the Bobcats seal the 75-63 victory.
Up next, the Bobcats final return to Athens on Saturday, Nov. 30 when Ohio hosts Detroit Mercy. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. inside the Convocation Center.