ATHENS, Ohio –The Ohio men's basketball team unofficially begins its 2019-20 season under first-year head coach Jeff Boals on Saturday, Nov. 2. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. inside the Convocation Center and will serve as the first game of the Bobcats' annual Dad's Weekend Doubleheader. The Ohio women's basketball team will take on Walsh at 3:30 p.m. The first 400 fans to the game will receive a free t-shirt.
The Bobcats finished last season with a 14-17 record and a 6-12 Mid-American Conference mark. Ohio fell in the first round of the MAC Tournament to No. 7 seed Northern Illinois.
The Bobcats return seven from last season, including redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis – who missed all of last season due to an injury - and MAC Freshman of the Year, Ben Vander Plas. Ohio also returns Jason Preston, Nate Springs, Connor Murrell, John Tenerowicz, and Mason McMurray.
Bobcat fans will also see seven new faces on the court this season, grad transfer from Georgia Tech, Sylvester Ogbonda (Part Harcourt, Nigeria) and six freshman including Michael Brown, Jr. (Rochester, N.Y.), Ben Roderick (Powell, Ohio), Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio), Nolan Foster, (Mattawan, Mich.), Miles Brown (Rochester, N.Y.), and Marvin Price (Baltimore, Md.).
Capital capped last season off with a 21-8 record including a come-from-behind win against top ranked Marietta. The Crusaders had an impressive 2018-19 season, going 21-8 (14-4 OAC). The team won a share of the regular season championship and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Crusaders made it to the second round after defeating the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Capital returns eight players from last year's squad, however, lost four of its top scorers. Capital also adds 10 freshmen to the roster for the start of the 2019-20 season.
Capital played an exhibition game against Notre Dame on Tuesday (Oct. 29), falling, 72-43.
The Bobcats return seven from last season, including redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis and
Dartis returns after missing the entire 2018-19 season due to injury. In his Ohio career, Dartis averages 11.9 points per game and is a 45.2 percent (339-of-750) shooter -- including owning a 44.8 percent (231-of-516) success rate from beyond the arc, which is the best three-point field goal percentage in program history. He is one of eight players in program history to sink at least 200 career three-pointers with 231, which ranks as the fifth-most in the history of the program. Dartis has finished in double figures 55 times in his Ohio career, which is the most among active Bobcats, and has tallied at least 20 points in a game 14 times in his career, which also ranks as the most among active Ohio players. His 1,086 career points rank as the 31st-most in program history.
Vander Plas was named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year. In MAC play, Vander Plas averaged 7.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He shot 38.3 percent from the field, 27.5 percent from three-point range and 57.9 percent from the free throw line. Vander Plas scored in double figures 11 times this season, while recording two double-doubles.
Preston, recognized on MAC All-Freshman Team, played in 30 games and started 22 for the Bobcats in his freshman campaign. Preston averaged six points per game while shooting 43.4% from the field and led the team with 3.4 assists per game and recorded his season-high nine assists in a 91-76 victory over Western Michigan while also adding six points and five rebounds off the bench.
Murrell appeared in 25 games while averaging 3.1 points per game on 36.3% shooting from the field and 24.2% from three. He scored nine points in 18 minutes on 4-8 shooting at Purdue (Dec. 20) and recorded seven points, five rebounds, three assists, and one block in a 66-57 win against rival Miami (Mar. 8).
Mason McMurray appeared in nine games before being sidelined by an injury, averaging 1.8 points per game while shooting 40 percent from the field, 20 percent from three, and 100% from the free throw line.
Springs is also back for the Bobcats after redshirting during the 2018-19 season.
RETURN OF BOALS
Boals returns to Athens for his first season as the leader of the Bobcats. Boals, a 1995 graduate, led the bobcats to a 25-8 overall season and won the Mid-American Conference regular season championship with a 14-4 mark in league play in 1994. The Bobcats capped off a MAC Tournament run with an 89-66 win over archrival Miami in the title game to send Ohio to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine years.
Boals spent previous three seasons (2016-19) as the head coach at Stony Brook. He guided the Seawolves to an overall record of 55-41 – including a 31-17 mark in America East Conference play. Stony Brook has gone 24-8 (12-4 AEC) in 2018-19 and made its second postseason appearance in the last three. The Seawolves received an invitation to the College Basketball Invitational Tournament in 2017. Stony Brook placed five student-athletes on the America East's All-Conference Teams in 2018-19, with sophomore center Jeff Otchere being named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and redshirt sophomore guard/forward Andrew Garcia being tabbed as Sixth Man of the Year.
The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 5 when the Bobcats take on St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. inside the Reilly Center and can be seen on ESPN+.