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Bobcats pull away for win over Mountaineers

Ohio dominates play in the paint in 73-59 victory

ATHENS – All five starters scored in double figures as Ohio downed Mount St. Mary’s 73-59 on Monday night at The Convo.

Mark Sears led the way with 15 points and seven assists, and Jason Carter and Ben Roderick each scored 12 points. Miles Brown finished with 11, and Ben Vander Plas scored 10.

Jalen Benjamin scored 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead the Mountaineers, who hung around until late in the second half.

A Benjamin 3-pointer with 12:16 to go cut Mount St. Mary’s deficit to 52-45 before Ohio (4-1) began to put away starting with a pair of Roderick free throws. Lunden McDay followed with a three-point play, and Vander Plas added a bucket to make it 59-45 just two minutes later.

A couple minutes after that, the Bobcats went on a 9-0 run beginning with a Roderick three-point play following an offensive rebound and assist by Carter. Brown then hit a 3-pointer and another jumper before a Sears free throw made it 70-49 with 4:53 remaining.

"I thought you know our guys were very resilient tonight," Ohiocoach Jeff Boals said. "I thought they showed some grit, especially in that second half. Mount St. Mary's is a good team. Scouting them, we knew coming in, they were going to be very physical, which they were. And we knew that no matter how much they were down, they're going to continue to fight battle and come back."

The Bobcats scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed, but they did not lead by more than eight in the first half. Their first double-digit lead did not come until a Carter layup made it 39-28 early in the second half.

A game after getting pounded on the boards in a loss to Kentucky, Ohio held a 30-20 rebounding advantage, including 14-6 in offensive rebounds. Carter led the way with seven rebounds, and he added four steals as Mount St. Mary’s turned it over 20 times.

"We just kept telling the guys you can't relax," Boals said. "I thought in the second half our defense really picked up, made some adjustments at halftime that really helped our defense and half court pressure."

The Mountaineers shot 53.5% for the game, including 6 of 13 from long range, but they took 19 less shots than the Bobcats, who connected at 46.8% clip for the game. Ohio finished with twice as many points in the paint 48-24.

Ohio hosts Concordia at 4 p.m. Friday at The Convo.

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