Moving on up

Ohio redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (center) had a game-high 26 points, and hit eight 3-pointers, to lead the Bobcats in a 74-68 win over Eastern Michigan inside the Convocation Center on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Dartis moved into second place on Ohio’s all-time career made 3-pointers list.

Jordan Dartis, now in his fifth-season of college basketball, still finds ways to get open despite being a red-letter notice on every opponent’s scouting report.

He’s still making 3s, still providing big momentum swings, and still climbing up the Ohio record book.

And back home, in Newark, his mother and her staff in a dentist office still mark off every made 3-pointer

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Dartis said Tuesday night after Ohio held off Eastern Michigan, 74-68 in the Convocation Center.

Dartis was pretty cool in his own right. He scored a game-high 26 points, and tied a season-high with eight made 3-pointers — four in each half — as Ohio found more than enough answers against the Eagles’ long, athletic and turnover-creating 2-3 zone.

EMU (10-5, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) will play the half-court zone defense from start to finish. With traps, and lengthy limbs waving through every passing lane, the Eagles lead the nation in steals and are among the best in the country in creating turnovers.

But Dartis, with his shooting acumen, can render it all a moot point. Dartis, with Tuesday’s eight trips, shot up into second place on the Ohio career made 3-pointers list. His 275 edged him past former Bobcat D.J. Cooper (274) into second place. Dartis now sits 15 away from tying Nick Kellogg (290) for the all-time record.

“When teams play zone he’s going to find an open area,” said Ohio head coach Jeff Boals, who picked up his first MAC win back at his alma mater. “And more importantly, our guys are going to find him.

“We trust him. He’s been through a lot of games. He’s an elite shooter.”

Ohio led 37-29 at the break, but found itself in a 37-37 tie early in the second half. The Bobcats then rattled off a 21-7 run to take control.

Dartis led the charge. He had 14 points in the decisive stretch, and hit four of five shots from 3-point range over a four-minute stretch to break it open.

“When he gets hot like that, everyone starts to get more energy and it erupts the crowd,” said Ohio freshman guard Lunden McDay. “The crowd loves to see him score.”

Dartis led five players in double figures for Ohio. McDay added 13 points on just seven shots. Sophomore point guard Jason Preston had 13 points, six rebounds and six assists. Sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas added 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Freshman center Nolan Foster chipped in 10 off the bench, with 5-of-5 shooting in the first half.

Eastern Michigan lost its second in a row, but for the first time since 2016 in the Convo. The Eagles excelled in creating turnovers — they got 23 points from 21 takeaways — but wiped out any perceived advantage there by committing 22 turnovers of their own.

“You just can’t do that,” EMU head coach Rob Murphy said.

Still, the Eagles shook off the second-half run and found a way to get back into the game in the final minute. Yeikson Montero led with 18 points, Ty Groce added 12, and center Boubacar Toure had eight points and 10 rebounds.

Montero’s turnover-turned-layup brought EMU to within 71-68 with a minute to go.

But McDay, off a cross-court pass from Vander Plas, drilled a left-corner 3-pointer with 46.6 seconds left to seal it for OU.

“I was just open. I knew Ben saw me so I just shot it. I knew it was going to be good,” McDay said.

EMU took advantage of a slew of early Ohio turnovers, and led 25-18 with 8:30 left in the first half. But the Bobcats closed the first half with a 19-4 run to lead 37-29 at the break.

Dartis hit his fourth 3 of the half, from the top of the key to nudge OU ahead 29-25. Then the senior guard set up Foster for a pair of baseline jumpers to end the half.

Murphy has seen Dartis go off before. And when Dartis made his first three shots, all from the arc, he figured the Eagles were playing with fire.

“If you ever give him an inch, he’ll take a mile and that’s what he did today,” Murphy said.

It was a stabilizing win for Ohio, which played again without redshirt freshman Mason McMurray (concussion). The Bobcats solved the zone, responded to a loss in the MAC opener, and enjoyed another big night from their senior shooter.

OU just has to try to reproduce that effort again on Saturday against preseason MAC favorite Bowling Green in a 1 p.m. tip-off in the Convo.

“There’s going to be a lot of close games all year long,” Boals said. “We got 16 more of these. Every possession matters. There’s got to be a sense of urgency.”

As for Dartis, he’s not worried about catching Kellogg just yet, and it barely registered that he had just passed Cooper — a legendary figure from the modern era of Ohio Basketball.

“I think it’s moreso about winning games,” he said. “I’ll look back at the end of it all, at the end of the season, and enjoy, but right now we just have to focus and take it game by game.”

Ohio 74, Eastern Michigan 68

Eastern Michigan 29 39 — 68

Ohio 37 37 — 74

EASTERN MICHIGAN (10-5, 0-2 MAC) 68

Ty Groce 4 4-6 12, Boubacar Toure 4 0-0 8, Yeikson Montero 7 0-0 18, Noah Morgan 3 0-1 8, Darion Spottsville 0 0-0 0, Thomas Binelli 2 0-0 5, Chris Barnes 3 2-2 8, Jalen King 0 0-0 0, Shamar Dillard 2 4-4 9; TOTALS 25 10-13 68; 3-point goals — 8-21 (Montero 4-9, Morgan 2-5, Dillard 1-1, Binelli 1-5, Groce 0-1).

OHIO (9-6, 1-1 MAC) 74

Ben Vander Plas 3 3-7 10, Sylvester Ogbonda 0 0-0 0, Jason Preston 4 4-6 13, Lunden McDay 4 2-4 13, Jordan Dartis 9 0-0 26, Ben Roderick 0 0-0 0, Nolan Foster 5 0-0 10, Connor Murrell 1 0-0 2, Miles Brown 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 26 9-17 74; 3-point goals — 13-27 (Dartis 8-15, McDay 3-4, Preston 1-1, Vander Plas 1-5, Roderick 0-1, Murrell 0-1).

TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Field goals — Eastern Michigan 25-57 (.439), 3-point goals 8-21 (.381); Ohio 26-56 (.464), 3-point goals 13-27 (.481); Free throws — EMU 10-13 (.769), Ohio 9-17 (.529); Rebounds — EMU 33/8 offensive (Toure 10); Ohio 35/10 offensive (Murrell 8); Assists — EMU 12 (Groce 4), Ohio 19 (Vander Plas/Preston 6); Steals — EMU 17 (Montero 5), Ohio 11 (Preston 3); Blocks — EMU 5 (Toure 2), Ohio 4 (Vander Plas/Ogbonda 2); Turnovers — EMU 22, Ohio 21; Personal fouls — EMU 18, Ohio 14; Attendance — 3,109; Technical fouls — None.

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

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