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Bobcats beat Hatters with defense

Ohio overcomes poor shooting in 55-45 road win

DeLAND, Fla. – Ohio struggled offensively but got the job done with defense, taking a 55-45 victory against Stetson on Saturday at the Edmunds Center.

The Bobcats shot just 36.7% on the day but held the Hatters to 31.6% shooting.

Mark Sears led the way with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Jason Carter had 10 points and six boards.

“I think we've talked about this before and we've won different ways,” Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. “And this was a grind out game. I thought a bench was phenomenal. Great minutes."

Stetson (2-6) cut its deficit to 46-43 on a Stephan Swenson three-point play with 3:41 remaining, but the Hatters scored only two more points after that.

Ben Vander Plas put back his own miss to give Ohio (7-2) a two-possession lead again, and a Tommy Schmock 3-pointer made it 51-43 with 1:33 remaining. Sears added a layup to make it a 10-point game.

The Bobcats built a 24-14 lead in the first half with AJ Clayton hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and then IJ Ezuma scoring on a putback for an 8-0 run. Ohio led 29-21 at halftime.

Stetson cut its deficit to 31-28 on a Rob Perry jumper before Ohio came back with an 11-2 run, capped by a pair of Ezuma free throws, to take a 41-29 lead with 9:13 to go. The Hatters then outscored the Bobcats 14-5 over the next five and a half minutes to get back in it.

Vander Plas took only six shots and finished with seven points and nine rebounds.

The Bobcats were just 5 of 19 from long range but made 14 of 16 free throws. The Hatters were 5 of 24 on 3-pointers and took just five foul shots, making four.

“We went a different way to win this game,” Schmock said. “And if you keep winning in different ways, then it'll help down the road."

Perry led Stetson with 17 points. Josh Smith had a game-high 11 rebounds.

Ohio returns to Athens to face Marshall at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Convo.

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