ATHENS, Ohio -- After an eight-day layoff, the Ohio men's basketball team (6-5) returns to the Convocation Center on Friday (Dec. 29) to battle Northwestern Ohio (8-8) in the final non-conference game of the 2017-18 campaign for the Bobcats. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
Friday's contest will be broadcast on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, with 'Voice of the Bobcats' Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call. There will be no video stream available for Friday's game.
BOBCATS BEAT PRAIRIE VIEW A&M WITH SECOND-HALF SURGE
Playing shorthanded once again, Ohio scrapped its way to an 84-65 win over Prairie View A&M thanks to a second-half surge on Dec. 20 at the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats found themselves without the services of senior guard Mike Laster (Detroit, Mich.) and sophomore forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio), who suffered injuries in Ohio's 99-96 overtime loss at Marshall on Dec. 16.
Forced to mix up its rotation, Ohio struggled in the opening 20 minutes of play on Wednesday, shooting just 33.3 percent (10-of-30) from the field -- including 2-of-9 from three-point range. Coming out of halftime, the Bobcats found themselves down two to the Panthers. Ohio roared to life, however, outscoring Prairie View A&M, 55-34, over the final 20 minutes and shooting 60 percent (15-of-25) from the floor -- including 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from beyond the arc. The Bobcats also knocked down 17 of their 20 free throw attempts in the second half to seal the win. Ohio finished the contest with 19 assists, marking the third time in 2017-18 the Bobcats have dropped at least 19 dimes in a game.
Junior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) recorded his second-straight outing with at least 20 points, tallying a team-high 23 off a 6-of-13 shooting effort from the field that included three treys. He also sank eight of his nine free throw attempts. Dartis has now scored 20 or more points in a game three times this season and nine times in his career. Redshirt sophomore guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.) went a career-best 5-of-9 from the field -- including a career-best 4-of-7 performance from three-point range -- in addition to knocking down all three of his free throw attempts en route to a career-high 17 points. He has finished in double figures in points in three of his last five games. Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) enjoyed another strong all-around performance, scoring 14 points after going 4-of-9 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out a career-high seven assists in 30 minutes of action. Graduate forward Kevin Mickle (Brooklyn, N.Y.) logged 14 points to finish in double figures for the third game in a row and sixth time this season. He went 5-of-9 from the field. Junior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) finished with 14 points, five assists and a rebound in 39 minutes. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) hauled in a game-high 11 rebounds to finish with double digit boards for the sixth time this season.
SCOUTING THE RACERS
Northwestern Ohio is an NAIA program that is a member of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. The Racers have started 2017-18 with eight wins in 16 tries, most recently upsetting No. 24-ranked Taylor, 96-86, in double overtime on Dec. 20.
The Racers are led by first-year head coach Caleb Williams. Senior guard Sadeeq Bello averages a team-high 17 points per game.
Friday's contest marks the first meeting between Ohio and Northwestern Ohio.
The Bobcats last faced an NAIA program in the regular season on Nov. 22, 2000 -- a 91-70 win over Rio Grande in the 2000-01 opener at the Convo.
Ohio opens 2018 MAC play next Tuesday (Jan. 2) with a trip to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to square off with West Division foe Central Michigan in a 7 p.m. ET matchup at McGuirk Arena.