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Ohio finishes strong to put away Concordia 88-68

Bobcats erase halftime deficit against NAIA opponent

ATHENS – After a slow start, Ohio exploded past Concordia 88-68 on Friday afternoon at The Convo.

The Bobcats trailed by seven at halftime but put up 58 points after the break against their NAIA opponent from Michigan.

Miles Brown scored a career-high 19 points to lead five Ohio players in double figures. Jason Carter and Ben Vander Plas had 16 points each, Mark Sears added 15 points, and Tommy Schmock came off the bench to score 11 points in 17 minutes.

The Bobcats (5-1) shot just 31.4% in the first half but nearly doubled that to 58.8% in the second half after they fell behind 37-30 at halftime.

Concordia’s lead was still seven when Ohio took the lead 44-43 on a pair of Schmock free throws to cap an 8-0 run. A Zac Clark layup briefly put the Cardinals (4-6) back in front, but baskets by AJ Clayton, Brown and Vander Plas put the Bobcats on top for good.

Concordia was hanging around, trailing 66-60 on a Thomas Hronis 3-pointer with 7:19 to go, but Ohio got two Brown free throws, followed by a steal and three-point play by Sears, to take a 71-60 lead. The Bobcats took an 85-66 lead on a Brown 3-pointer, and Schmock’s 3-pointer with 48 seconds left made the final margin 20.

Ohio led 15-13 on a steal and dunk by Ben Roderick, but Concordia went on a 10-0 run to take control. The Bobcats tied the game at 25 on a fast-break basket by Brown, though once again, the Cardinals answered and went ahead 35-26 on Bernard Kasanda’s jumper with 2:54 left in the first half.

Hronis had a career day for Concordia, finishing with a game-high 23 points mostly through a 7-of-13 effort from long range. Kasanda added 14 points.

Concordia finished the game at 50.9% from the field, including 40.9% from long range, but its 19 turnovers led to 28 Ohio points.

The Bobcats take on LSU on the road at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

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