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Utah's efficient offense too much for Ohio

Utes almost perfect at foul line in 80-66 victory

CONWAY, S.C. – Utah got to the foul line 28 times and converted on all but one attempt as it topped Ohio 80-66 on Saturday in the consolation semifinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational at the HTC Center.

The Utes (4-1) also shot 48.9% from the floor, including 7 of 15 (46.7%) from 3-point range in the best offensive performance against the Bobcats (3-3) so far this season.

Jason Preston led Ohio with 21 points and four assists, while Ben Vander Plas scored 13 points and added four rebounds.

Timmy Allen went 9 of 9 at the foul line and scored 19 points to go with eight rebounds to lead Utah. Both Gach and Rylan Jones combined to go 11 of 11 on free throws and scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.

"Our sense of urgency and our will to win had to be greater than theirs and I thought theirs was better than ours," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "That's what good teams do; they respond. Our guys compete and battle; we've just got to continue to learn from this. I told them afterward we have a chance to be really good and these are the types of teams you face in the first round of the NCAA tournament."

Utah went on a run late in the first half to take control. Leading 28-26, the Utes scored 13 in a row to go up 41-26.

Vander Plas made three free throws at the end of the first half to cut Ohio’s deficit to 44-34, but it got no closer the rest of the night. Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Utes a 63-42 lead with 12:29 remaining.

Ohio got as close as 71-61 with 2:12 left on Lunden McDay’s three-point play, but Utah was too good from the line for the Bobcats to get any closer down the stretch.

The Bobcats shot 42.9% overall, including 6 of 24 (25.0%) from long range and made 12 of 15 free throws. Jordan Dartis was just 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, while Preston was 2 of 7.

Ohio takes on Middle Tennessee in the seventh-place game of the tournament at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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