COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a see-saw affair that featured 11 ties and 14 lead changes, Tiffin's Travis Spahr hit a short baseline jumper with 2.5 seconds left to lift the visiting Dragons over Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team, 89-87, in GLIAC South Division play Saturday in Alumni Hall.
The entire contest was played inside a 10-point window, as Tiffin's biggest lead was seven points and the Panthers never led by more than three.
Jake Mochoskay (Mansfield, Ohio) scored a career-high 27 points – the most by a Panther since Bryan West tallied 35 at Shawnee State on Feb. 17, 2009 – after knocking down 9-of-14 from the field and 6-of-11 from beyond the arc. The six threes were a career-best for the junior forward.
Sophomore guard Morgan Jones (Oberlin, Ohio) finished with 18 points, junior forward Zak Kapron (Malvern, Ohio) scored 11, and junior forward Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, Ohio) had six points, seven rebounds, three blocks and a career-high seven assists to lead ODU, which matched a season-best with its 87 points and hit a season-best 12 three-pointers. Senior center Keith Jackson (Lima, Ohio) had a game and career-high nine rebounds and junior forward John Trew (Barberton, Ohio) scored nine points while matching his career-high with four assists.
Trailing 58-51 with 14:38 to go, the Panthers (5-19, 2-15 GLIAC) came back on a transition layup by Kapron and four straight points from Jones. Mochoskay tipped in a missed Jones layup, then buried a three-pointer on the next possession to put ODU in front 62-60 with 11:55 left.
The lead changed hands five times over the ensuing four minutes until Tiffin's defense finally came up with a stop, and a three-pointer in transition by Brian Scott put the Dragons (7-17, 5-12) on top 78-74 with 7:05 left. Mochoskay answered again with a triple, but TU was able to take an 82-78 lead with just 4:31 left after a pair of Joe Graessle free throws.
Both teams traded missed shots and the Panthers turned the ball over, but Mochoskay came up with a steal at midcourt and finished an acrobatic layup while being fouled. He hit the free throw to make it 82-81 with 2:32 remaining. Scott answered with a layup of his own, but Mochoskay drew another foul and kept the Panthers within one at 84-83 with 1:58 left after hitting both at the line.
Spahr split a pair of free throws, and the Panthers, moving in transition, tied the score at 85 after Kapron had a nifty feed inside to Mochoskay. After a timeout, Tiffin regained the lead on an open layup by Graessle, but Jones forced his way to the bucket and finished with 28 ticks left to tie the game at 87.
TU's Karl Finley missed a long jumper with seven seconds remaining, but Spahr came up with the loose ball and hit the jump shot to give the Dragons the 89-87 advantage, and Jones' desperation heave from halfcourt as time expired came up empty.
For the contest, ODU shot 53.4 percent (31-of-58), its best percentage of the season, and after scuffling from beyond the arc the past two contests, drilled 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) from three-point range. The 12 three-pointers were the most by the team since hitting 13 against Rio Grande on Jan. 15, 2008.
Tiffin, though, shot 56.7 percent (34-of-60), including 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half. The Dragons hit 9-of-15 (60 percent) from beyond the arc themselves and scored 15 second chance points off their 12 offensive rebounds while also holding a 42-28 edge in points in the paint.
The Panthers, who dropped to 1-8 in games decided by six points or fewer, have their final home game of the 2010-11 season as ODU takes on Ashland at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Alumni Hall. ODU and Tiffin will match up again a week from today at 1 p.m. in the regular season finale.
Contact: Scott Miles