CLEVELAND, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Bobcats are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 after beating Buffalo 84-69 in the MAC Tournament Championship game.
Ohio accomplished the feat in just the second year with Jeff Boals as head coach. The Bobcats were unable to play in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament last year due to COVID-19.
OU dominated all three opponents it played in the conference tournament and trailed for less than three minutes in 120 minutes of action.
That domination included Saturday’s title game over the Bulls. Ohio trailed for about two minutes early, but once the Bobcats took the lead four minutes into the game they never gave it back. Jason Preston controlled the first half with 17 points giving OU a 41-21 halftime lead.
The Bobcats kept the pressure on in the second half and led by double digits the rest of the game shooting 50% from the field.
Preston finished with a game-high 22 points while Ben Vander Plas poured in 20 and Dwight Wilson added 17.
The Bobcats won the MAC Tournament despite only playing four games in 36 days due to pauses related to the coronavirus.
During OU’s 2012 NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bobcats shocked the country beating No. 4 Michigan in the first round followed by a second round win over South Florida to secure the team’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 1964. Ohio almost pulled off another upset in the Sweet 16 but fell to No. 1 North Carolina 73-65 in overtime.
Ohio now awaits its tournament draw to see who they’ll play in the Big Dance with the first round starting next Friday and Saturday.