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Ohio dominates 2nd half of win at Eastern Michigan

Eagles lead by 15 early but go cold after that

YPSILANTI, Mich. Ohio dominated the second half to erase a second-half road deficit for the second straight game, beating Eastern Michigan 74-56 on Saturday at the George Gervin GameAbove Center.

The Eagles (8-16, 3-10 Mid-American Conference) led by as many as 15 points in the first half and held a 33-25 advantage at the break, but the Bobcats (8-16, 3-10 MAC) outscored them 49-23 after halftime.

Mark Sears led the way with 27 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Miles Brown had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds as Ohio clinched a spot in the MAC Tournament.

"It was a game of two halves," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "Both teams got off to a slow start. I think we were down 10 at the last media timeout. Very similar to Central Michigan where we were a step slow on things and out energy level on the defensive end wasn't where it needed to be to win the game."

Eastern Michigan capped a 10-0 run to go ahead 29-14 on a Luka Savicevic 3-pointer with 5:13 remaining in the first half. From that point forward, the Bobcats outscored the Eagles 60-27, starting with an 8-0 run that includes five points by Brown and a Sears 3-pointer.

Down 37-31 a few minutes into the second half, the Bobcats took over with a 12-0 run, moving in front on a Tommy Schmock 3-pointer and then adding one on a fast break by Sears to make it 43-37.

"The defensive intensity the last five minutes of the first half was really good and it carried over the second half," Boals said. "I think we got seven offensive rebounds in the second half, which was an emphasis at halftime to make some adjustments."

Savicevic stopped the run with a 3-pointer, but the Bobcats were not close to done. They scored seven straight after that as part of a bigger 19-2 run and went up 50-40 on a Sears layup with 8:40 remaining.

From there, Ohio continued to add to its lead, which maxed out at 20 on a Ben Roderick 3-pointer with 1:32 to go.

"I have to give the credit to my teammates, especially the bigs," Brown said. "They did a great job boxing out, and I was able to execute and get the rebound. So we just had a lot of fun tonight. As you said, we started off kind of slow in the first half. So the momentum in the second half kicked in and we were just able to have fun."

Rodrick finished with nine points and four rebounds, and the Bobcats overcame an off-shooting night from Ben Vander Plas, who was just 3 of 11 and scored seven points with five rebounds while sitting out the final seven minutes with an ankle injury. Jason Carter, who has also been out for portions of the last two games, missed the entire second half.

Darion Spottsville led the Eagles with 12 points, followed by Savicevic with 11. Bryce McBride finished with 10. Eastern Michigan shot just 32.1% in the second half, including 1 of 9 from 3-point range, and made just 4 of 10 free throws in the final 20 minutes.

After three straight road games in a span of five days, the Bobcats return home to face Miami at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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