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Ohio shuts down Buffalo in 74-53 blowout win

Sears scores 27 points; Vander Plas has double-double

BUFFALO – Ohio’s defense dominated, and so did Mark Sears as the Bobcats rolled past Buffalo 74-53 on Friday night at Alumni Arena.

The Bobcats held the Bulls to 38.2% shooting, including 31.0% in the first half when Ohio built a 37-20 lead. Sears finished the night with 27 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Jason Carter had 16 points and nine rebounds to finish just shy of a double-double, which Ben Vander Plas accomplished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Miles Brown added 11 points.

With the game tied at 9, Ohio (16-3, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) began to take control with a Vander Plas putback layup that started an 8-0 run.

Later, near the end of the first half, the Bobcats scored nine straight, capped by a Sears jumper that made it 33-18. A minute after that, Sears had a steal and layup to put the Bobcats ahead by 17 at the break.

With a Brown 3-pointer and then a Carter putback, the Bobcats were up 42-20 a minute into the second half. Starting at the 15:35 mark, Sears scored six straight points in a 1:20 span to give Ohio a 52-29 lead. Buffalo cut its deficit to 16 before the Bobcats went back up by 23 at 61-38 on an AJ Clayton 3-pointer.

From there, the Bulls (10-8, 4-4 MAC) got only as close as 16 points, with the Bobcats going back up by 23 again in the final minutes.

Jeenathan Williams led Buffalo with 13 points, but it came on 5-of-15 shooting. David Skogman had 11 points.

Ohio forced 16 turnovers and committed just eight. The Bobcats shot 43.9%.

Ben Roderick sat out with a foot injury, with Sam Towns starting in his place.

It was the Ohio’s biggest margin of victory at Buffalo since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1998.

The Bobcats face Ball State at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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