KALAMAZOO, Mich. — After a longer break than expected over the holidays, the Ohio men’s basketball team finally tipped off conference action.
Ohio rode its defense to a 59-47 win at Western Michigan’s Read Fieldhouse/University Arena on Saturday.
The Bobcats, who were playing their first game since Dec. 21 due to last week’s postponement against Eastern Michigan, have won five in a row.
Ohio improved to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-American Conference.
Western Michigan fell to 4-9 overall and 0-2 in the MAC.
The Bobcats made life difficult for the Broncos’ offense. Western Michigan shot 32.7 percent (16 of 49) from the field, including just 6 of 22 from 3-point range.
Western Michigan had 20 turnovers and just five assists.
Ohio was unable to completely pull away thanks to some of its own shooting problems. The Bobcats were 23 of 63 (36.5 percent) from the field, making just 3 of its 22 3-point attempts.
The Bobcats had just nine turnovers with seven assists.
Mark Sears and Jason Carter paced Ohio offensively. Sears had 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting, also making 7 of 8 free throw attempts. He also had two assists and three steals.
Carter added 17 points on 8 of 15 shooting, including eight rebounds.
Ben Vander Plas had nine points and seven rebounds, while Miles Brown, Ben Roderick and Tommy Schmock each scored four points.
Ohio and Western Michigan were tied at 21-21 in the first half, the Bobcats eventually leading 28-24 at halftime thanks to Schmock’s half court shot at the buzzer.
The Bobcats never lost that lead in the second half. They went ahead 47-34 with 9:04 left after Carter’s jump shot. The lead was 49-35 with 5:56 left after a Brown jump shot.
Ohio is scheduled to continue conference place with a pair of important games this week. The Bobcats travel to Akron on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. tip against the Zips.
The Bobcats return home on Friday, hosting Kent State at 6:30 p.m.