CONWAY, S.C. – The Ohio men's basketball team (3-3) continued play at the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational Friday evening (Nov. 22), falling to Utah (4-1), 80-66, inside the HTC Center.
"Our sense of urgency and our will to win had to be greater than theirs and I thought theirs was better than ours," head coach Jeff Boals said. "That's what good teams do, they respond. Our guys compete and battle, we've just got to continue to learn from this. I told them afterward we have a chance to be really good and these are the types of teams you face in the first round of the NCAA tournament."
Sophomore guard Jason Preston (Orlando, Fla.) led the Bobcats with 21 points, going 8-of-16 from the field, 2-of-7 from three-point range and 3-of-6 from the free throw line, while also dishing out four assists. Redshirt sophomore forward Ben Vander Plas (Ripon, Wis.) finished with 13 points, going 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Lunden McDay (Akron, Ohio) wrapped up the game with eight points, while graduate transfer forward Sylvester Ogbonda (Port Harcourt, Nigeria) finished with six points and a team-high six rebounds.
Overall, Ohio shot 42.9 percent from the field, 25.0 percent from three-point range and went 12-of-15 (80.0) percent from the free throw line, while Utah shot 48.9 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from three-point range and were 27-of-28 from the free throw line. Utha outrebounded the Bobcats, 31-28, while the Utes dished out 11 assists to the Bobcats' nine. Utah also scored 26 points off of turnovers, compared to 19 from Ohio.
Leading the Utes was Timmy Allen with 19 points, eight rebounds and went 9-for-9 from the line. Both Gach finished with 18 points and three assists, while Rylan Jones finished with 17 points and four assists.
Utah opened the game with the first six points before Preston drained a three to cut the lead in half. After another Utah three, back-to-back jumpers from Ogbonda and Vander Plas brought the score to 9-7 in favor of the Tues entering the first media timeout.
Out of the timeout, a jumper from Vander Plas tied the game up at 9-9. After Utah went back up two, a jumper from redshirt senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) and another three from Preston put the Bobcats up 14-11. However, Utah would go up 15-14 going into the next media timeout. After the Utes took a three-point lead, a jumper and a hookshot from Preston and Ogbonda put the Bobcats up one, however Utah followed that up with a three, a layup and a free throw to take a five-point lead. However, back-to-back threes from freshman forward Ben Roderick (Powell, Ohio) and McDay cut the Utah lead to 28-26 with 6:49 left in the first half.
Out of the timeout, Utah went on a 13-0 run to extend their lead to 41-26 with 2:22 left. After a layup and a free throw from freshman center Nolan Foster (Mattawan, Mich.) and two free throws from Vander Plas, Utah hit a three to take a 44-31 lead with 1:17 left. Vander Plas was then fouled on a three attempt, hitting all three free throws to cut the Utah lead to 44-34 at the half.
At the half, Ohio shot 40.0 percent from the field, 31.0 percent from three-point range and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, while Utah shot 60.0 percent from the field, 63.0 percent from three-point range and was 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Both teams pulled in 13 rebounds, while Utah dished out nine assists to Ohio's five.
Leading Ohio was Vander Plas with nine points, followed by Preston with eight and McDay with five.
Utah opened the second half with a dunk, however Preston brought he game back within 10 with a layup of his own, however, Utah went on an 8-2 run to take a 54-38 lead going into the media timeout. Utah would go on to take a 21-point lead before a layup from Ogbonda and a three from Dartis brought the score to 63-47 with eight minutes to go.
After the Utes went back up 18, Ohio got points from Preston and Foster, bring the Bobcats within 14 with 4:45 left in the game. After Utah extended their lead to 71-55 with 2:39 left, Roderick drained a three to bring Ohio within 13 with 2:24 left in the game.
A layup and a free throw from McDay and a dunk from Vander Plas brought he Bobcats within 10 points with 1:36 left, however, Utah its their free throws down the stretch, with the Bocbats falling by the final of 80-66.
Up next, the Bobcats will face off with Middle Tennessee State on Sunday, Nov. 24 in the final game of the 2019 Myrtle Beach Invitational. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.