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Balanced Bobcats win big again

Roderick's 19 points provide big spark

ATHENS Four players scored 15 or more points, and Ohio cruised for the second time in three days with an 81-68 victory against Eastern Michigan on Thursday afternoon at The Convo.

Mark Sears led the way with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and the Bobcats got a big boost from Ben Roderick showing signs of breaking out of a season-long slump with 19 points, including 3-of-4 3-point shooting. Jason Carter had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Ben Vander Plas added 15 points.

Ohio (18-3, 9-1 Mid-American Conference) shot 51.8% in a game moved up five hours because of impending winter weather.

"We always talk about getting off to a great start and not giving them confidence early," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "When you make shots, the game's a lot easier."

The Bobcats were hot from long range to start and jumped out to a 19-6 lead and were in control all afternoon.

After leading 44-34 at halftime, Ohio essentially put the game away early in the second half with a 12-0 run. A Sears layup capped it off and made it 59-36 with 15:39 remaining. After an Eastern Michigan basket, Roderick hit back-to-back 3-pointers to push the lead to 26 points.

"It felt good to see the ball go in the hoop," Roderick said. "I'm going to take this game and run with it. One thing that stood out to me is that Coach Barlow said to expect the ball to go in, and that's what I did. And the ball went in, so it was a great feeling."

Eastern Michigan (8-13, 3-7 MAC) got as close as 15 points before Ohio made another push to go back in front 79-56. That allowed for additional bench minutes for the second straight game.

Nate Scott paced the Eagles with 16 points and six rebounds. Bryce McBride added 14 points, and Mo Njie scored 10 points.

In his second came back from an injury, Roderick was 8-for-10 shooting, including 3-for-4 on 3-pointers. Carter was 3 of 5 on 3-pointers, and the Bobcats finished 12 of 26 (46.2%) from long range, compared to a 6-of-21 (28.6%) effort by the Eagles.

"B-Rod, hats off to him," Boals said. "Coming back from his injury, he looked like the old B-Rod. And he gives us a completely different presence out there when he does that."

Ohio plays its third home game of the week at 2 p.m. Saturday when it hosts Western Michigan.

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