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Ohio Men's Basketball Begins December With Matchup Against Coppin State

Ohio Men's Basketball Begins December With Matchup Against Coppin State


By Mike Ashcraft

Watch: ESPN3
 Ohio IMG Sports Network
Live Stats: PrimeTime
Game Notes: Ohio (PDF)

ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball team (3-3) opens the month of December by welcoming Coppin State (0-6) to the Convocation Center on Friday (Dec. 1). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

Friday's game will be streamed live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app, with Marty Bannister and Toni Roesch on the call. The contest will also be broadcast on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call. Radio pregame coverage is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET with 'Countdown To Tipoff.'

Over its last three games, Ohio has averaged 93.3 points per game, bringing its season average to 80.3 per game.

In loss to the Gaels, the Bobcats dropped a season-high 13 three-pointers. Ohio shot 50.8 percent from the field (33-of-65), marking the second game in a row that the Bobcats have shot at least 50 percent.

Five players finished in double figures in points as Ohio asserted itself in a dominant 96-77 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Nov. 24 at the Convocation Center.

The Bobcats shot a season-best 54.9 percent (39-of-71) from the field and held the advantage in rebounds (35-28), assists (19-15), steals (8-1), points in the paint (50-39), points off turnovers (23-5), second-chance points (11-8), fastbreak points (8-3) and bench points (20-9). Ohio's marks in points in the paint, points off turnovers and bench points represented season highs.

Ohio came out on top in the first-ever meeting with the Mountaineers, who qualified for the NCAA Championship field in 2016-17 by winning the Northeast Conference tournament and achieved a 20-win season.

After the win over Mount St. Mary's, Ohio is now a perfect 12-0 when scoring at least 90 points under fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips.

Laster is looking to make his final season as a Bobcat his best yet, and he's off to a good start. Laster is averaging 15.8 points per game to lead the team and is shooting 46.5 percent (40-of-86) from the field. He has tallied three-straight games with at least 20 points, making him the first Bobcat to achieve such a feat since 2015-16.

Laster posted his second-straight outing with at least 20 points in the victory over Mount St. Mary's, matching Kirk for the team lead with 20 after going 9-of-16 from the floor with a pair of threes. He also tallied two rebounds over 36 minutes.

Kirk has impressed through his first six games as a Bobcat. Starting at point guard in every contest, he is averaging 15.3 points per game to rank third on the team and is shooting a team-best 49.3 percent (36-of-73) from the field. He is the lone Bobcat to tally double-digit points in all six contests. He is also averaging a team-high 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game. 

Kirk continued the strong start to his freshman campaign in the win over Mount St. Mary's, tallying a career-high 20 points for the second game in a row to tie for the team lead. He shot 7-of-14 from the floor -- including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc -- in addition to sinking four his five free throw attempts. He also matched his career high with six assists to tie for the team lead and grabbed five boards in 32 minutes.

Ohio beat Alabama A&M, 61-53, in the 2017-18 season opener on Nov. 11 at the Convo behind a game-high 16 points from Kirk. In his debut for the Bobcats, he also added four rebounds, two assists and a steal over 32 minutes in his first career start. At the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., Kirk notched 10 points, a game-high six assists, four rebounds and a steal in 28 minutes against Clemson (Nov. 16), then logged 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal over 27 minutes against Dayton (Nov. 17) in the Charleston Classic. He saved his best for last in Charleston with a 20-point effort that saw him score a combined 12 points over the final three overtimes to help the Bobcats clinch the win in quadruple overtime over Indiana State (Nov. 19), 96-94.

Taylor achieved his first career double-double with a career-high 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in the win over Mount St. Mary's. He went 6-of-10 from the field and sank his first three-pointer of the season. He also had a pair of steals in 26 minutes.

Taylor has tallied double-digit boards four times in six games to start the 2017-18 season -- including each of the last three contests. He is averaging a team-high 9.3 rebounds per game and is also averaging a team-high 1.7 blocks per game.

After shooting just 2-of-10 from the field -- including -- 2-of-6 from three -- in a six-point performance against Alabama A&M, Dartis found his stroke at the Charleston Classic, averaging a team-high 19.3 points (58 points). He tallied 18 points off of four made field goals -- including a pair of triples -- in addition to making all eight of his attempts from the free throw line against Clemson. He then went 7-of-12 from the field with three triples en route to scoring a team-high 19 points against Dayton. He saved his best for last with the 21-point effort in the victory over Indiana State. Dartis has scored at least 20 points in a game seven times in his career, more than any other player on Ohio's roster.

Dartis made it four games in a row in double figures after making 6-of-13 shots -- including three triples -- to notch 15 points in the win over Mount St. Mary's. He also finished with two rebounds, two steals and an assist over 30 minutes of work.

Dartis is now averaging 15.7 points per game to rank second on the squad and is shooting 42.5 percent (31-of-73) from the floor. 

After finishing a rebound short of a double-double with 12 points and nine boards to go along with a game-high five assists in 35 mintues in the win over Alabama A&M in the season opener, Block averaged 15.0 points and 2.7 assists to rank second on the team and 7.7 rebounds to lead the team over three games at the Charleston Classic. He scored a career-high 22 points to lead all scorers and achieved his first career double-double with a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the team in addition to logging an assist and a steal in 34 minutes of work against Clemson. He then just missed out on a second-straight double-double with 14 points and a team-high nine boards in addition to distributing a team-high four assists in 34 minutes of work against Dayton.

Through six games this season, Block ranks fourth on the squad with 13.7 points per game and second in both rebounds per game (6.8) and assists per game (3.8).

Coppin State is off to an 0-6 start, most recently suffering a tough 74-71 loss at Central Connecticut State on Nov. 21.

The Eagles are in their first season under the direction of 2002 NCAA Final Four and ACC Player of the Year Juan Dixon, who starred at guard at Maryland. Coppin State was picked to finish 12th of 13 teams in the 2017-18 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preseason Poll.

Coppin State ranks 351st in the nation in points per game (54.0), field goal percentage (.327) and rebounding margin (-15.5). The Eagles excel from the foul line, ranking 17th in the country with a 79.4 percent free throw percentage.

Sophomore guard Dejuan Clayton is Coppin State's top scorer, averaging a team-high 10.2 points per game.

Ohio is 2-0 all-time against Coppin State. The Bobcats have posted a pair of neutral site wins over the Eagles -- a 94-92 victory on Dec. 30, 1995, at the Pepsi/Oneida Casino Classic in Green Bay, Wis., and a 51-47 triumph on Nov. 16, 2003, at the BCA Classic in Cincinnati.

The Bobcats own a perfect 11-0 mark against teams out of the MEAC. Ohio's last victory over an MEAC squad came on Nov. 21, 2015 -- a 93-71 win over Norfolk State at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

Ohio makes the trip to College Park, Md., to battle Big Ten Conference foe Maryland next Thursday (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m. ET. 


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