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Bobcats put 6 in double figures in win over Chippewas

Ohio gets first win at Central Michigan in 8 years

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Six players scored in double figures, and Ohio picked up its first road win at Central Michigan in eight years with an 83-69 victory Tuesday night at McGuirk Arena.

Jason Preston led the Bobcats in their fourth straight win with 17 pounds, 11 rebounds and six assists, and Dwight Wilson III had a double-double of 14 pounds and 10 boards.

Ohio (11-6, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) led 32-20 late in the first half, saw that advantage shrink to four points by halftime and then trailed 44-42 early in the second half. The Bobcats scored 10 consecutive points after that and eventually pulled away.

"I'm really proud of our guys for their defensive effort," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "The way Central plays, they try to speed you up and make you make mistakes, and we made some. We played well in key situations.

Ben Roderick fueled Ohio after it fell behind by two on Travon Broadway Jr.’s jumper three minutes into the second half. Roderick hit a jumper and then knocked down a 3-pointer that put the Bobcats up for good. After a Ben Vander Plas jumper, Roderick knocked down another jumper to make it 52-44.

A little later, with a 56-48 lead, Wilson made a layup, Vander Plas threw down a dunk and the Wilson scored another basket inside to push the Ohio advantage to 62-48. Miles Brown added a jumper, and Wilson scored following an offensive rebound to take the lead all the way up to 18 points with 6:46 remaining.

"We should probably get the ball to him (Wilson III) more," Boals said. "He's probably shooting 70% from the field and is top three or four in the country in field goal percentage. His touch in unbelievable. We have to keep getting post touches and paint touches, and he's a big part of that."

An early 11-2 run gave Ohio a 15-9 lead, and the Bobcats later scored seven straight points to go up 30-18. After trading points, the Chippewas (6-11, 2-8 MAC) outscored the Bobcats 14-6 over the final six minutes of the first half and then 8-2 to start the second half.

Vander Plas finished with 13 points on efficient 5-of-6 shooting for Ohio. Roderick was just 2 of 9 from long range but scored 12 points to match Lunden McDay, who was 4 of 5 from the field. Mark Sears had 11 points in 21 minutes off the bench.

“We had six guys in double figures, so we were sharing the basketball,” Boals said. “Once we took care of the basketball, we were getting good looks and finishing it at the rim.”

Broadway led all players with 26 points for the Chippewas, who also got 17 points from Caleb Huffman off the bench, but also had two starters who did not score.

Ohio shot 56.7% from the field overall despite going just 6 of 25 from long range. The Bobcats made 29 of 35 2-point attempts and had a huge 42-20 advantage in points in the paint.

"I'm really excited for our guys," Boals said. "They're doing a great job of preparing. Coming into games, they're carrying out the game plan. When you have a mature team doing that, then it's an awesome team to coach.”

The Bobcats’ last win in Mount Pleasant was Feb. 13, 2013.

Ohio’s scheduled home game against Eastern Michigan for Saturday was postponed because of COVID issues for the Eagles. Instead, the Bobcats’ Feb. 20 game against Bowling Green has been moved up to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Stroh Center.

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