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Block's 3-pointer gives Ohio win over Ball State

Bobcats sweep season series with Cardinals

ATHENS - Gavin Block knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining as Ohio topped Ball State 78-74 on Saturday at The Convo.

The Bobcats (11-8, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) held the Cardinals (11-9, 2-5 MAC) scoreless for the final two and a half minutes and won their second straight game. Jason Carter led four Ohio players in double figures with 16 points, while Block finished with 15. Antonio Cowart Jr. scored 11 points, and Jason Preston tallied 10 points.

"That was just a really good college basketball game with two pretty good teams trading blows," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. "We beat them in Muncie; they clearly did not have their best night and that had something to do with us winning. Tonight, I thought they played very, very well. They had timely, big shots. I can't say enough about the big shots that Gavin made and the way we tightened up on defense in the final stretch there."

Tayler Persons had 21 points for Ball State.

The Cardinals used an 8-0 run to take a 29-21 lead late in the first half and took a 37-31 lead into halftime. The Bobcats had a 13-0 run early in the second half to go up 45-41, and from there, the game stayed close with neither team leading by more than four.

Teyvion Kirk scored a bucket with 3:44 left to go the Bobcats within one, and a Carter layup put Ohio up before Ball State's final basket, a KJ Walton jumper with 2:34 left, changed the lead again.

Neither team capitalized on the next few possessions before Ben Vander Plas assisted Block's 3.

"I started out in the far corner, someone got downhill, hit Ben on the wing, Ben shot-faked and took one dribble, hit Jason on top of the key, Jason got in there and played off too," Block said. "My guy just left me and I did a little roller-place at the top of the key and then I saw Kyle Mallers flying at me, so I took a little side-step and let'er fly."

Persons missed on the other end for Ball State, and Kirk split two free throws to make it a 3-point game. Kyle Mallers misfired a potential game-tying 3, and one more Kirk free throw with 10 seconds to go clinched it.

With Doug Taylor saddled by foul trouble, Vander Plas had a career-high 12 rebounds to go with 7 points. Trey Moses had 12 rebounds and 8 points for Ball State.

Ohio faces Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. Tuesday in DeKalb, Illinois.

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