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Bobcats bounce back with blowout of Huskies

Sears scores 26 points, Vander Plas adds 15

ATHENS – Ohio led by as many as 28 points and rolled past Northern Illinois 74-62 on Tuesday night at The Convo.

Mark Sears scored 26 points with six rebounds and six assists, and Ben Vander Plas had 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Bobcats (15-3, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) bounced back from Friday’s loss to Toledo.

"I was really pleased with the way we came out after last game," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "We had two really good days of practice that were similar practices that we had going into Miami game. It was exciting to see our guys respond and they responded the way I thought they would.”

Northern Illinois (5-11, 2-4 MAC) hung in the game for the first 12 minutes, trailing just 19-16, but Ohio held a 22-6 advantage the rest of the half.

The Huskies got as close as 52-37 with 12:19 to go when the Bobcats put the game away with a 9-0 run, going up 61-37 on a Miles Brown 3-pointer midway through the second half. The lead grew to as big as 70-42 on a Tommy Schmock 3-pointer.

With the game already decided, Northern Illinois outscored Ohio 20-4 the rest of the way.

“We got it up to 28 and obviously, we didn't finish the game very well,” Boals said. “But we'll work on that. It's better be up 28 than down 28 trying to fight back into it. I'm really proud of our guys for the response after the last game."

Jason Carter finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Sam Towns had six points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.

Keshawn Williams paced the Huskies with 12 points. Kaleb Thornton had 10 points.

Northern Illinois ended up at 42.6% shooting for the game after a poor offensive first half that included going 0-for-6 from long range. Ohio shot 40.7% on the night and made good on 18 of 24 free throws.

"Friday night was very embarrassing," Sears said. "And we just wanted to bounce back, especially in front of our home court."

Ohio hits the road to face Buffalo at 7 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.

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