The Ohio men’s basketball team had great balance on Tuesday, and a freshman led the way.
Mark Sears scored a career-high 21 points as the Bobcats downed Western Michigan, 81-58, inside the Convocation Center.
Ohio’s second win in a row moves its record to 9-6 overall, and 5-4 in the Mid-American Conference.
Sears came off the bench to make 8 of 12 shots for his 21 points. He also connected on a pair of 3-pointers, making all three of his free throws. He got his teammates involved as well with six assists, and even grabbed three steals.
“(Sears) has a great finishing ability,” said Ohio head coach Jeff Boals. “He creates contact and gets to the free throw line. His ability to get down low just adds a whole different dimension to our offense.”
Sears was one of four players in double figures. Dwight Wilson powered Ohio in the paint with 19 rebounds on 9 of 12 shooting, adding eight rebounds.
Ben Vander Plas and Lunden McDay each scored 11 points, with Vander Plas grabbing five rebounds.
Ben Roderick just missed double figures with eight points, while Jason Preston has six points, five assists, 10 rebounds and three steals.
Western Michigan fell to 2-10 overall, and 1-6 in the MAC.
The Broncos’ final lead came at 19-17 with 11:20 remaining in the first half, but the Bobcats closed the half on a 26-12 run to lead 43-31 after Preston scored in the paint in the closing seconds.
Western Michigan never got any closer in the second half, as Ohio scored 10 of the first 12 points for a 53-33 advantage after a Sears’ jump shot with 15:45 to play.
The Bobcats’ largest lead came at 26 points, leading 69-43 with 8:01 left after Miles Brown’s basket in the paint.
Greg Lee led Western Michigan with 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting. William Boyer-Richard and Josiah Freeman each scored nine points.
The Bobcats won the rebounding battle 42-33, and only had six turnovers compared to 16 for the Broncos. It led to a 15-2 advantage in second chance points.
Ohio also owned the lane, with a 44-14 advantage in points in the paint.
It’s the first time all season the Bobcats have been above .500 in the MAC, as they currently sit at sixth place in the conference standings.
Ohio travels to Buffalo on Friday for a key conference game, as the Bulls sit 4-3 in the MAC. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.