First of its kind

Ohio sophomore point guard Jason Preston (left) drives on Mekhi Lairy (2) and Elijah McNamara (22) during the Bobcats' 77-46 win in the Convo on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Preston finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assist to record the first triple-double by a Bobcat inside the Convocation Center. It's believed to be just the second triple-double in program history.

The Bobcats came to the Convocation Center needing a win to snap a four-game slide.

What Ohio got was a two-hour party.

Buoyed by a dominating first-half defensive effort, Ohio rolled Miami — 77-46 — on Saturday afternoon in the latest installment of the ‘Battle of the Bricks.’ OU (11-12, 3-7 Mid-American Conference) beat their arch-rivals for the 15th time in the last 18 meetings, and for a ninth straight time in Athens.

“We wanted to set the tone, set the rules,” said Ohio head coach Jeff Boals. “Just be the aggressor.

“I thought we were the aggressor today.”

The rivalry’s moniker was taken literally by the RedHawks in the first half as Miami missed 24 consecutive shots en route to an insurmountable 34-11 deficit at the half. It was the fewest points scored in a half against Ohio this season, and the fewest by Miami in a half this season. The RedHawks (9-14, 2-8 MAC) lost their third straight overall while tying a season-low in points.

Miami led 5-3 in the opening minutes after Nike Sibande hit a right-wing 3-pointer. But, Delonte Brown missed a breakaway dunk on the next RedHawks’ possession and that miss started a string of 24 straight misfires from the field.

It took over 16 minutes of game time before Miami hit another field goal — Isiah Coleman-Lands’ 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in the half — and in the interim OU put the game out of reach with a 31-3 run.

Miami shot just 3 of 29 (10.3 percent) in the first half, and finished the day at 15 of 57 (26.3 percent).

“Give OU credit, they made plays, they made shots,” said Miami head coach Jack Owens. “We had an opportunity to dunk the ball there, and then we also had a few others there in the paint that just didn’t go down, hung on the rim.

“Just a snowball from there,” he added. “We scored 11 points in the first half and that was the game.”

The 31-point margin of victory was one of the largest in the history of the long-running (206 meetings) series. It was Ohio’s largest win over Miami since a 61-20 victory back in the 1940-41 season.

“They were locked in on this game. The energy level was there,” Boals said.

After scoring 15 straight points to turn the 5-3 deficit into an 18-5 lead, OU never looked back. It never led by fewer than 12 points the rest of the first half, led by 23 at the break and by as many as 32 in the second half. The RedHawks never got closer than 19 points.

The win, and the margin, were only two of the noteworthy things that happened in front of a rowdy, Sib’s Weekend crowd in the Convo. Here’s three more.

Preston gets a triple-double

Sophomore point guard Jason Preston finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to collect the first triple-double of his career, the first-ever by a Bobcat in the Convo, and possibly just the second in program history.

The last confirmed OU triple-double came on Dec. 10, 2011 when D.J. Cooper had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 72-54 win at Portland.

“It’s nice. But most importantly we got the win and we needed it,” Preston said. “We had a four-game losing skid and to come in here and beat our rival by 30 points that’s most important.”

Boals joked that his efforts — he cited fouls, floor burns and charges — weren’t recognized as a triple-double back in his playing days.

“Awesome deal. He’s been close a couple of other times,” the coach said. “To be in the same breath with D.J. Cooper, probably a top 5-10 player to ever play here, that’s pretty special.”

Preston's triple-double was the second by a MAC player this season (Toledo's Luke Knapke), and just the 18th recorded nationally during the 2019-20 season.

Dartis takes over the 3s record

Ohio has four players in double figures as Ben Vander Plas had 18 points, and both Ben Roderick and Dartis — a fifth-year senior guard — finished with 11 points. Senior center Sylvest Ogbonda added nine points and six rebounds.

Dartis hit 3 of 6 3-pointers on the day, and his first shot, a left-side 3-pointer, went through to make him Ohio’s career-leader in 3-pointers. Dartis now stands at 293 career 3s; he broke the record previous held by Nick Kellogg (290, 2011-14).

“I’m very appreciative, I’m very humble. I passed Nick Kellogg man, shoutout to him. He was a great OU legend here,” Dartis said.

Dartis played with and against Kellogg during some opens during the summer months in Athens a couple of years ago.

“He definitely gets buckets…he’s nice,” Dartis said.

Boals sees the video

It’s become a bit of tradition, and Ohio once again played its ‘Two school…’ video prior to tip-off. The video highlights the Ohio-Miami rivalry and acts as an accelerant for the OU fans in the moments before the game begins.

The video met with the approval of Boals, who was featured in the production for the first time — and also saw it for the first time with the audience in the Convo.

“I thought that intro was awesome,” he said. “I got chills watching that thing. Shout out to our production team putting that thing together.”

Up next

Ohio will try to win back-to-back conference games for the first time this season on Tuesday when it hosts Western Michigan (11-12, 4-6 MAC) in a 7 p.m. start in the Convo. The Bobcats lost the first match this season, 77-65 in Kalamazoo.


Ohio 77, Miami 46

Miami;11;35;—;46

Ohio;34;43;—;77

MIAMI 46 (9-14, 2-8 MAC)

Dalonte Brown 2 3-3 7, Bam Bowman 0 1-2 1, Nike Sibande 2 7-8 12, Dae Dae Grant 0 0-0 0, Myja White 2 0-0 4, Mekhi Lairy 3 1-2 8, Milos Jovic 1 0-0 3, Elijah McNamara 4 0-1 8, Isaiah Coleman-Lands 1 0-0 3, Josh Brewer 0 0-0 0, Precious Ayah 0 0-0 0, Benjamin Litteken 0 0-0 0, Michael Ritchie 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 15 12-16 4; 3-point goals — 4-20 (Jovic 1-2, Sibande 1-4, Lairy 1-4, Coleman-Lands 1-5, McNamara 0-1, Bowman 0-2).

OHIO 77 (11-12, 3-7 MAC)

Ben Vander Plas 6 3-3 18, Sylvester Ogbonda 4 1-1 9, Jason Preston 6 3-4 15, Lunden McDay 1 2-2 4, Jordan Dartis 3 2-2 11, Ben Roderick 4 0-0 11, Connor Murrell 0 0-0 0, Nolan Foster 0 2-2 2, Miles Brown 0 2-2 2, Mason McMurray 0 0-0 0, Michael Brown 1 0-0 2, John Tenerowicz 1 0-0 3; TOTALS 26 15-16 77; 3-point goals — 10-25 (Vander Plas 3-6, Dartis 3-6, Roderick 3-8, Tenerowicz 1-1, Ogbonda 0-1, McDay 0-1, Murrell 0-1, McMurray 0-1).

TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Field goals — Miami 15-57 (.263), 3-point goals 4-20 (.200); Ohio 26-54 (.481), 3-point goals 10-25 (.400); Free throws — Miami 12-16 (.750), Ohio 15-16 (.938); Rebounds — Miami 34/10 offensive (Lairy 5); Ohio 40/5 offensive (Preston 10); Assists — Miami 5, Ohio 17 (Preston 10); Steals — Miami 7, Ohio 7; Blocks — Miami 1, Ohio 4; Turnovers — Miami 17, Ohio 15; Personal fouls — Miami 19, Ohio 14; Attendance — 6,534; Technical fouls — None.

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

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