COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Dominican men's basketball team was crowned the Champions of the Second Annual Red Roof Inn Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday as they defeated the University of Michigan-Dearborn, 88-76, in Alumni Hall. After starting the season 0-5 the Panthers have won two straight on their way to the classic title.
Ohio Dominican led from start to finish in Saturday's championship game as they took advantage of another solid defensive effort, forcing the Wolves into 14 turnovers that led to 17 points. The Panthers also got 27 points from their bench and had their best performance of the season from behind the 3-point arc connecting on 47 percent (9-of-14). ODU was shooting just 23 percent heading into the contest.
ODU jumped out to a quick 11 point lead in the opening minutes of the first half as they took advantage of the long ball hitting 6-of-11 3-point field goals in the opening half. Michigan-Dearborn wasn't about to go away that easily as they chipped away at the ODU lead and tied the game at 33 with 3:31 to play before the intermission. The final three minutes of the game would see ODU go on a 9-0 run to take a 10 point lead into the break.
It was much of the same from the Panthers in the second half as they extended their lead to as many as 20 points. ODU could smell the victory, but it was again the scrappy Wolves that answered and cut the lead to 11 with under two minutes to go in regulation. The Panthers wouldn't be denied as they were able to hold on for their first championship in the short history of the Red Roof Inn Classic.
Sonny Stattmiller (Sr./Columbus, OH; pictured) led the way for Ohio Dominican as he scored a season high 18 points and dished our four assist. John Trew (So./Barberton, OH) also had another big night with 16 points and six boards for the Panthers. Adriene Rodriguez (Sr./Lorian, OH) was selected to the All-Classic team after finishing with 15 points and six assists in the win. Fellow senior Jim McCurdy ( Columbus , OH ) scored 13 points off the bench for ODU.
Sophomore forward Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, OH) was named the Red Roof Inn Thanksgiving Classic Most Valuable Player after averaging 12 points and 7.5 rebounds in the two games. Joining Rodriguez on the All-Classic team was Keith Dean of Calumet, Tyler Morgan of Shawnee State and Ronald Wilson and Le'ante Duren from Michigan-Dearborn.
Dean helped lead Calumet to a consolation game overtime victory as the Crimson Wave defeated Shawnee State, 78-76. Dean scored a tournament high 30 points, grabbed six boards and had five assists in the victory. Morgan led the Bears with 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Ohio Dominican will return to action on Tuesday, December 1st as they host former AMC foe the University of Northwestern Ohio. Tip-off between the Panthers and Racers is set for 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall.