Maybe the Bobcats just had to burn through some of those extra Thanksgiving calories.
Ohio overcame a nine-point first-half deficit and it’s largest halftime hole of the season, but still managed to easily dispatch Concordia, 88-68, on Friday afternoon in the Convocation Center.
Ohio (5-1) opened the second half with a 15-2 run to grab the lead for good, and pulverized Concordia with 58 second-half points. Miles Brown had career highs of 19 points and six rebounds to lead the Bobcats, which had five players in double figures for a second consecutive game for the third time this season.
“We just got to the rim a lot more and picked up our pace; Our energy got going off of our rebounding,” Brown said. “We just picked up off our team’s energy.”
Forward Jason Carter and Ben Vander Plas added 16 apiece for Ohio. Mark Sears added 15 points, four assists, five rebounds and five steals. Tommy Schmock added an Ohio career high 11 points off the bench.
Every member of the Ohio roster got into the game with two exceptions. Center Dwight Wilson III remained out with a knee injury. Junior guard Lunden McDay did not play, and his absence was not addressed by Ohio head coach Jeff Boals after the game.
Concordia (4-5) is an NAIA program out of Ann Arbor, Mich. and as such the game was merely an exhibition for the Cardinals and will not impact their record. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
But that didn’t stop the Cardinals from leading virtually the entire first half. Thomas Hronis bagged a game-high 23 points, and converted seven 3-pointers. Bernard Kasanda added 14 points.
Hronis snapped a 25-25 tie with a running, shot-clock beating 3-pointer with 5:27 to go to initiate a 10-1 run for the Cardinals that ended with their largest lead — 36-25. Concordia settled for a 37-30 lead at the break.
Ohio settled too, too often for 3-pointers early in the shot clock against the Cardinals’ half-court trap. The Bobcats were 3 of 19 from 3 in the first half.
“Obviously, we got off to a slow start and didn’t come out with the energy that we needed to,” Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. “Anytime you give a team confidence you’re in a dogfight.
“The guys battled and had some adversity being down seven halftime. We came out with the energy and effort level we needed in the first half that we had in the second half,” boals added. “It was good to respond like that.”
Vander Plas converted a 3-point play to finish the 15-2 salvo opening the second half as Ohio surged ahead 51-45. Sears’ 3-point play gave OU its first double-digit lead at 64-54 with 9:16 to go.
Brown and Schmock hit back-to-back 3-pointers inside the final 90 seconds to extend the lead out 88-68. Ohio shot 6 of 11 from 3 in the second, and forced 19 turnovers that were good for 28 points.
With McDay absent, and Ben Roderick struggling — he was 2 of 10 overall and 0 of 5 from 3 — Ohio needed Brown to do more and he delivered. He hit 7-of-12 from the field, played more than 30 minutes for the first time this season, and chipped in two assists and two steals without a turnover.
“He’s playing at a really good level for us,” Boals said. Ohio returns to action on Wednesday night with a 7 p.m. start at LSU, which was 5-0 going into Friday including a 30-point win over Belmont.