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Ohio uses big 2nd half to pull away from Purdue Northwest

Preston, Wilson both post double-doubles

ATHENS Ė Trailing at halftime, Ohio used a huge second half to run away from Purdue Northwest 92-72 on Thursday afternoon at The Convo.

Coming off a blowout of Cleveland State, the Bobcats were down 40-36 at the break to the Division II Pride before starting the second half with a 17-3 run to take a 10-point lead less than five minutes into the second half.

Jason Preston and Dwight Wilson III both had double-doubles. Preston finished with 22 points, 11 assists and five steals, while Wilson had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Lunden McDay (14 points), Ben Vander Plas (13 points) and Miles Brown (11 points) also reached double figures. Vander Plas added six rebounds and seven assists.

"I thought we might be a little sluggish with finals going on," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "We (COVID) tested this morning at 7:15 a.m. Not your normal game day routine. We had a couple of guys that had finals before shoot around. I was kind of expecting it. I think it's always good to face some adversity and see how your guys respond."

Preston had two baskets with a Logan Phillips free throw in between, and a Brown three-point play gave Ohio (4-1) a 43-41 lead. Wilson and Brown added baskets to make it a six-point game, and after a Vincent Miszkiewicz layup for Purdue Northwest, Wilson scored six straight points, with his dunk giving the Bobcats a 53-43 lead.

Prestonís layup with 13:52 remaining extended the advantage to 57-45, but the Pride answered with a run of their own to get back in it, starting with a Gregory Boyle 3-pointer. Xavier Allisonís jumper got Purdue Northwest to within 57-55 with 11:01 to go.

Ohio regained control with an 11-2 run, going up 68-57 on a Rifen Miguel 3-pointer. Later a 9-0 run gave the Bobcats an 84-62 lead.

"I thought the second half, Miles Brown, was probably the difference in the game from an energy standpoint, effort standpoint," Boals said. "It really turned the tide defensively. I thought it was the tale of two halves. I thought they dictated the first half and I thought we dictated the second half."

By contrast, the first half was tight, and the Pride used an 8-0 run to move in front 31-23. Ohio scored the final three points of the second half to cut its deficit to four and then began the second half strong.

Jyrus Freels led Purdue Northwest with 19 points and eight rebounds. Anthony Irvin had 12 points off the bench.

Ohio started just 1 of 15 from long range but finished 6 of 23. It shot 52.9% from the field overall, while the Pride shot 44.3%, mostly inside the arc. They were 7 of 17 on 3-pointers. Turnovers were a big advantage for the Bobcats, who committed just nine, compared to 18 by Purdue Northwest.

Ben Roderick, who left the win over Cleveland State only three minutes in with a knee injury, did not play Thursday. Freshman Sam Towns started in his place, but Brown began the second half in his spot and played 28 total minutes.

The game was scheduled just a couple of days before being played. In its only other game of the season so far, the Pride lost to Bowling Green 88-67 in a game that also was close at halftime. Both games were considered exhibitions by Purdue Northwest but regular season games by their opponents.

The Bobcats are set to take on Marshall in their last currently scheduled nonconference game at 2 p.m. Sunday in Huntington, West Virginia.

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