COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican men's basketball team got off on the wrong foot to start the New Year losing a heartbreaker 72-70 at home Saturday afternoon to the No. 14 ranked Bearcats of McKendree University (Ill.). The Panthers led for much of the game, but a late Bearcat (11-5) run sent ODU to its third straight loss and first in 2010.
Both teams came out firing on offense to start the game. The first half was a back and forth battle with nine ties and six lead changes as neither team could push the lead to more than five points. The Panthers were able to take a 36-34 lead into intermission behind a strong shooting effort by Aaron Gibbs (So./Oberlin, OH; pictured) who finished the half 7-for-12 with 16 points.
In the second half both teams cooled down slightly, but the Panthers (6-9) were able to stretch the lead to seven mid-way through the second stanza. ODU stayed out front for much of the half until Eric Hobbie dropped in a 3-pointer at the 2:43 mark to give McKendree its first lead since early in the second half. The Bearcats denied the Panthers down the stretch and were able to hold on for the 72-70 victory.
Gibbs led the Panthers with a game and season high 22 points. He also pulled down a game high 11 rebounds. Adriene Rodriguez (Sr./Lorain, OH) chipped in with 12 points and John Trew (So./Barberton, OH) finished with 11.
McKendree was led by Hobbie with 17 points and Sean Rakers came off the bench to chip in with a double-double in the victory.
The Panthers will look to end their three game skid when they travel to neighboring Capital University on Tuesday, January 5th. The non-conference showdown with the Crusaders is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m.