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Preston returns to lead Bobcats to easy win

Roderick scores 20, Vander Plas comes up big too

ATHENS Jason Preston returned to the lineup and helped Ohio roll past Miami 78-61 on Tuesday night at The Convo.

He had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 32 minutes after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury. Ben Roderick took advantage of good looks created by Preston, knocking down 6 of 10 3-pointers and scoring 20 points, and Ben Vander Plas approach triple-double territory with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Dalonte Brown led the RedHawks (4-4, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) with 16 points, with Mekhi Lairy adding 15 points and Dae Dae Grant scoring 12.

The Bobcats (6-5, 3-3 MAC) jumped out to a 12-3 lead in the first four minutes, during which Preston scored two baskets and scored two others. Miami got within a point and was down just 32-29 with two minutes left in the half, but Ohio scored six straight points to go up 38-29 at the half.

Up 38-31 early in the second half, the Bobcats took control with a 10-0 run that started with a pair of Roderick 3-pointers and finished with baskets by Preston and Lunden McDay.

From there, Ohio led by double digits the rest of the way. The lead topped out at 21 points late on a Vander Plas three-play that made it 76-55.

"The defensive effort was there, the communication was there, the gaps were there," Ohio coach Jeff Boals. "That's what we got to continue to do. I told our guys we were dead last in the MAC in defense. In order to win a championship, you got to defend and rebound and execute the half court. I thought we did all three very well tonight."

McDay scored nine points for the Bobcats, and now playing off the bench, Mark Sears had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes.

Miami was limited to 40.4% shooting, while Ohio shot 57.4%.

Ohio hosts Kent State at 2 p.m. Saturday at The Convo.

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