Road win in New York

Ohio sophomore guard Jason Preston (0), seen here on Saturday, Nov. 2 in an exhibition game in the Convo, had 11 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and seven steals in the Bobcats’ win at St. Bonaventure on Nov. 5, 2019.

Note: This recap appears in the Thursday, Nov. 7 newspaper on Page A6.

The Jeff Boals’ era of Ohio Basketball began like every Bobcat season seems to do — with a win.

Ohio led for the final 37 minutes, and pulled away in the second half, for a 65-53 win over St. Bonaventure inside the Reilly Center on Tuesday night in Olean, N.Y.

It was the 16th consecutive win in a season opener for Ohio (1-0), which was opening a season on the road for the first time since 2003. For Boals, Ohio’s first-year head coach, it was win No. 1 at his alma mater.

St. Bonaventure (0-1) has won 72 percent of its home games since 2012, but couldn’t find any rhythm against an Ohio club that was down to eight available scholarship players because of injury.

“We knew coming in that to give us any chance we had to compete for 40 minutes and play harder. I thought our guys did a good job of that,” Boals said in a postgame radio interview

Sophomore point guard Jason Preston powered Ohio with a stat-sheet stuffing performance. Preston didn’t leave the floor — he played all 40 minutes — and finished with 11 points, a career-high 13 assists, six rebounds, and a career-high seven steals.

Preston was everywhere at both ends of the court, and instrumental in keeping the Bobcats in the lead after wiping out early deficits of 2-0 and 4-3.

“He’s a great basketball player,” Boals said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s kind of the head of the snake for us.”

Redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis had a game-high 19 points for Ohio in his first official game since March of 2018. He hit three long-range jumpers in a four-minute span early on that turned the one-point deficit into a 14-4 lead.

“All I can say is thank the man above,” Dartis said in a postgame radio interview. “I’m feeling ecstatic about the win.”

Sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas added 12 points for Ohio, and redshirt freshman forward Nate Spring added nine points off the bench with three 3-pointers. As a team, Ohio hit 8 of 22 from the arc (36.4 percent).

The Bonnies were unable to find any success outside. St. Bonaventure converted just 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) from the arc, and failed to find much offensive success. Sophomore forward Osun Osunniyi had just six points in 11 minutes as first-half foul trouble, and then a second-half injury took the Bonnies’ best interior option off the floor.

Alejandro Vasquez had 12 points for the Bonnies, Amadi Ikpeze added 10 and Bobby Planuitis chipped in eight points and 10 rebounds.

After Dartis’ early barrage, St. Bonaventure managed to get as close as 26-23 late in the first half. But Dartis hit two free throws, Preston set up Nolan Foster’s layup, and then Preston put back an offensive rebound with one second left in the half to forge a 32-25 lead at the break.

Ohio managed a pair of 10-point leads in the opening minutes of the second half before the Bonnies cut it to 50-44 with seven minutes to go.

But Preston set up Dartis for a 3-pointer in transition, then grabbed a step and assisted Dartis for lap for a quick 5-0 spurt. Vander Plas added a 3-point play, and Preston scored off a cut to the rim as the surge became a 12-3 run that left OU with a 62-47 lead with 3:20 to go.

Ohio played without junior Connor Murrell and freshmen Miles Brown, Marvin Price and Ben Roderick because of injury. The Bobcats still played four freshmen, with Lunden McDay in the starting lineup, Foster off the bench and redshirt freshmen Spring and Mason McMurray adding substitute minutes.

Ohio returns home, and takes aim at 2-0 start, by hosting NCAA Division III program Heidelberg inside the Convo at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’s only one game,” Boals said. “It’s a long season.

“But it’s a great start to the season.”

Ohio 65, St. Bonaventure 53

Ohio 32 33 — 65

St. Bonaventure 25 28 — 53

OHIO 65 (1-0)

Ben Vander Plas 4 3-7 12, Sylvester Ogbonda 2 0-0 5, Jason Preston 5 1-2 11, Lunden McDay 1 3-4 5, Jordan Dartis 7 2-2 19, Nate Springs 3 0-0 9, Nolan Foster 2 0-1 4, Mason McMurray 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 24 9-16 65; 3-point goals — 8-22 (Springs 3-4, Dartis 3-0, Vander Plas 1-1, Ogbonda 1-1, McMurray 0-3, McDay 0-4).

ST. BONAVENTURE 53 (0-1)

Bobby Planutis 2 4-4 10, Osun Osunniyi 3 0-0 6, Kyle Lofton 3 2-2 8, Dominick Welch 2 0-0 5, Alejandro Vasquez 3 4-8 12, Robert Carpenter 1 0-1 2, Alpha Okoli 0 0-0 0, Matt Johnson 1 0-0 2, Amadi Ikpeze 5 0-0 10; TOTALS 20 10-15 53; 3-point goals — 3-19 (Vasquez 2-7, Welch 1-8, Planutis 0-2, Lofton 0-2).

TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Field goals — Ohio 24-51 (.471), 3-point goals 8-22 (.364); St. Bonavenutre 20-55 (.364), 3-point goals 3-19 (.158); Free throws — Ohio 9-16 (.563), St. Bonaventure 10-15 (.667); Rebounds — Ohio 30/8 offensive (Ogbonda 7), St. Bonaventure 37/16 offensive (Planutis 10); Assists — Ohio 17 (Preston 13), St. Bonaventure 11 (Lofton 3); Steals — Ohio 10 (Preston 7), St. Bonaventure 4; Blocks — Ohio 2, St. Bonaventure 2; Turnovers — Ohio 12, St. Bonaventure 16; Personal fouls — Ohio 18, St. Bonaventure 21; Attendance — 4,305; Technical fouls — None.

Email at jarkley@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @JasonAmessenger

Load comments