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Dartis lights up Akron with 38 points on 10 3-pointers

Ohio scores 56 points in 1st-half of season-best offensive effort

ATHENS – Jordan Dartis returned from injury in a big way Tuesday night. The junior guard knocked down 10 3-pointers on his way to a career-high 38 points as Ohio ended its losing streak by blowing out former coach John Groce and Akron, 99-75, at The Convo.

Dartis, who missed Saturday’s overtime loss to Central Michigan because of a nagging hip injury, hit six 3-pointers and scored 26 of his points in the first half as the Bobcats jumped out to a 56-34 lead.

Gavin Block scored 14 points with five rebounds and four assists, and Teyvion Kirk and James Gollon both finished with 13 points. Mike Laster reached double figures with 10 points in Ohio’s highest scoring game of the season.

Dartis was 10 of 15 from long range and 13 of 20 from the field overall, also adding five rebounds, three rebounds and a steal. His 10 3-pointers were the most by an Ohio player since Javarez Willis made that many March 6, 2015, and ranks tied for third all-time behind a pair of efforts by Dave Jamerson of 14 and 11 made treys.

"I say thank you to my teammates for finding me, screening for me and just giving the ball when I was open," Dartis said. "I just knocked down shots when I was open."

He was not the only Ohio player feeling it from the outside. The Bobcats went a combined 16 of 27 (59.3 percent) from long range. Gollon was 3 of 5, Laster was 1 of 2, and Zach Butler and Block both made their only attempts.

Akron led 10-2 to start the game and held a 22-21 lead midway through the first half before Ohio dominated the next 10 minutes to the tune of a 35-12 run. The stretch began with 13 straight Bobcats points and included a 20-6 finish to the half.

Ohio’s lead reached 30 at 66-36 on a Kirk coast-to-coast layup only three minutes into the second half. The Bobcats’ advantage reached 90-59 on a Dartis’ final 3-pointer with seven minutes to go.

"Thought we did quite a few things well tonight," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. "Obviously, Jordan stole the show with his 38. He was ridiculously on fire. We ran 30 possessions in practice (Monday); he hit five 3s in those possessions. It was the first full practice he's been through since before Christmas, so I knew he was feeling pretty good. If this is feeling pretty good, I'd like to see him feel great."

Daniel Utomi led the Zips with 21 points, while Malcolm Duvivier scored 15 points and Eric Parrish had 13 points.

This win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Bobcats.

"I told them to smile and just relax," Phillips said. "This whole time I've been emphatic saying we're this close, this close. This group is a long way from giving up. I think they showed that tonight. We've got two tough ones on the road coming up, so have fun with that. The level of understanding from player one to player eight, nine is increasing every day."

The Bobcats hit the road to face Western Michigan at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at University Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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