Ohio University

Ohio’s Mark Sears goes up to the basket against Saint Francis on Dec. 4. Sears scored 33 points on Tuesday in an 85-70 win over UCS Upstate.

Mark Sears ended the non-conference portion of Ohio’s season in style.

Sears enjoyed a career afternoon on Tuesday, leading Ohio to an 85-70 victory over USC Upstate in the Convocation Center.

Sears scored 33 points, as the Bobcats improved to 9-2.

USC Upstate fell to 3-9.

Sears made 11 of 16 shots from the field, and all 10 of his free throw attempts. He added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Ohio controlled the first half, leading 42-29 with 1:26 to play.

The Spartans rallied all the way back, their first lead coming at 50-49 with 13:12 remaining after Mysta Goodloe’s 3-pointer.

The Spartans also went ahead 52-51 on a Jordan Gainey jumper before the Bobcats took control.

AJ Clayton put down a dunk in the paint to give Ohio the lead back, 53-52 with 10:37 left.

The Spartans were within 60-58 with 6:17 left before the Bobcats pulled away.

A 12-4 run gave Ohio a 72-62 lead after two Ben Vander Plas free throws.

Sears scored six points in a row, the final four coming from the foul line, to put Ohio ahead 83-70.

Vander Plas, Jason Carter and Ben Roderick also hit double figures for Ohio.

Vander Plas had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Carter had 12 points, six rebounds and two assists. Roderick was 3 of 6 from the 3-point line, scoring 11 points.

Clayton added seven points. Miles Brown had four points, while Sam Towns and IJ Ezuma each scored three points.

The Bobcats shot 48.1 percent from the field (26 of 54) and won the rebounding battle 39-23.

Ohio also attempted 33 free throws, making 26, while the Spartans were just 6 of 6 from the foul line.

Bryson Mozone led USC Upstate with 18 points. Gainey had 14 points and two blocked shots. Khydarius Smith had 10 points, while Jalen Breazeale had nine points and five assists.

The Bobcats now set their sights on Mid-American Conference play. They open the conference slate on Tuesday at home against Eastern Michigan at 7 p.m.

Ohio’s second MAC game is at Western Michigan on Jan. 1.

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