Ohio Bobcats

Ohio’s Jason Preston drives to the basket during a game against Bowling Green last Saturday. Preston had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists on Tuesday, as Ohio lost at Buffalo.

AMHERST, N.Y. — Ben Vander Plas and Jason Preston enjoyed career nights on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for Ohio University, it didn’t result in a victory.

The Bobcats lost a close one, 76-73, at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena.

The loss was the second in a row for Ohio, and drops its record to 9-8 overall and 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference.

The Bulls improved to 11-6 and 2-2 in the MAC.

Vander Plas set a career-high for the second game in a row. After scoring 25 points in a home loss to Bowling Green on Saturday, Vander Plas followed that up with another 28 points.

Vander Plas made 11 of 20 shots from the field, including 4 of 6 3-point tries. Vander Plas has converted nine 3-pointers in the last two games. He also added five rebounds and two blocks against Buffalo.

Preston tied a career-high with 27 points as he flirted with a triple-double.

Preston made 11 of 21 shots from the field, including 2 of 3 from long range. He had 10 rebounds and six assists.

Sylvester Ogbonda also hit double figures with 12 points and six rebounds.

Vander Plas, Preston and Ogbonda combined for 67 of Ohio’s 73 points, as only four players dented the scoring column. Lunden McDay added six points.

Jonathan Williams led Buffalo with 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting. He had seven rebounds and two assists. Antwain Johnson added 18 points, while Davonta Jordan added 12 points. Josh Mballa and Jayvon Graves each followed with nine points.

“I thought we competed. That’s something we didn’t do the other game against Bowling Green,” first-year head coach Jeff Boals said. “We had a great practice yesterday. We played hard, but we didn’t play smart at times. Games like this, we tell our guys all these games are going to be close, and the value of every possession. We turned it over at the end, and that’s on me, but that didn’t lose the game for us.”

Ohio jumped out to a good start, never trailing in the first half and leading 31-26 at halftime.

However, it would prove to be the second game in a row in which the Bobcats gave up 50 second-half points.

Buffalo’s first lead came at 38-37 with 16:27 to play on Johnson’s 3-pointer. The two teams went back and forth the rest of the way, with Ohio leading 64-59 with 6:46 remaining on Preston’s layup.

The Bulls came back with an 8-0 run to lead 67-64 on Johnson’s layup with 4:19 left.

Ohio’s final lead came at 73-72 on Vander Plas’ layup with 34 seconds left.

The Bobcats weren’t able to get the key stop though, as Buffalo went ahead 74-73 on Williams’ layup with 15 seconds remaining.

Preston had a shot in the lane with five seconds left, but it missed the mark and a turnover gave the ball back to Buffalo with two seconds left.

Graves made two free throws in the closing second for the final three-point margin.

The Bobcats will remain on the road as they try to end a two-game losing streak. They travel to Eastern Michigan on Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip off.

Ohio defeated Eastern Michigan 74-68 in Athens on Jan. 7.

Buffalo 76, Ohio 73

Ohio 31 42 — 73

Buffalo 26 50 — 76

OHIO 73 (9-8, 1-3 MAC)

Ben Vander Plas 11 2-2 28, Sylvester Ogbonda 4 4-5 12, Jason Preston 11 3-7 27, Lunden McDay 3 0-0 6, Jordan Dartis 0 0-0 0, Nate Springs 0 0-0 0, Ben Roderick 0 0-0 0, Connor Murrell 0 0-0 0, Nolan Foster 0 0-0 0, Miles Brown 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 29 9-14 73; 3-point field goals: 6 (Vander Plas 4, Preston 2)

BUFFALO 76 (11-6, 2-2 MAC)

Jonathan Williams 10 5-5 26, Josh Mballa 4 1-2 9, Antwain Johnson 7 1-2 18, Jayvon Graves 2 4-5 9, Davonta Jordan 6 0-0 12, David Nickelberry 0 0-0 0, Ronaldo Segu 1 0-0 2, Brock Bertram 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 30 11-14 76; 3-point field goals: 5 (Johnson 3, Williams, Graves 1 apiece)

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