Panthers Clip Eagles 71-68 for Program's First Victory Over Ashland

Morgan Jones
Morgan Jones

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team built a 16-point second half lead over visiting Ashland but had to sweat out some anxious moments down the stretch before defeating the Eagles 71-68 Thursday in a GLIAC South Division matchup in Alumni Hall.

The victory snapped AU's 18-game win streak over the Panthers and led to a series split between the two Ohio foes, after Ashland took the first contest 86-77 in overtime on Feb. 3.

Leading 42-36 early in the second half, ODU (6-19, 3-15 GLIAC) went on a 12-2 run, with sophomore Morgan Jones (Oberlin, Ohio) scoring seven points in that stretch and junior forward Jake Mochoskay (Mansfield, Ohio) burying a three-pointer to make it 54-38 with 13:13 to go.

Ashland's defense responded by holding ODU to just two points over the next five and a half minutes, though, and cut the Panther lead to 56-53 with 7:53 left. Mochoskay answered with a three, but Ashland (12-13, 6-12 GLIAC) came right back and made it 61-60 with 5:40 left.

Jones drew a foul and made two free throws, and after a Jones steal, junior center Zak Kapron (Malvern, Ohio) hit a short jump shot to make it 65-60 with 3:26 remaining. Ashland, though, reeled off five straight points, tying the game after a steal and transition layup by Kale Richardson with 2:21 to go.

On the ensuing possession, Jones sunk a jumper in the lane, and after a missed Ashland three-pointer, Kapron muscled his way to the basket for a layup to make it 69-65 with 1:05 left. AU's Evan Yates made a layup, and ODU turned the ball over, giving the Eagles a chance to tie or take the lead with 45 seconds.

Ashland's Jordan Berlin drew a foul with 13 ticks, but could only split the two free throws, making it a 69-68 contest. Mochoskay caught the inbounds pass and was quickly followed, and he drilled both of his free throws to put the Panthers on top 71-68. Richardson missed a three-pointer before the buzzer to seal the victory for ODU.

The Eagles had jumped to a 16-9 lead early, knocking down seven of their first eight shots, before the Panthers could get in a rhythm. Junior forward Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, Ohio) scored 11 of ODU's first 17 points to bring the Panthers back into the game, and Mochoskay's three gave ODU a 24-23 lead with 6:56 to go in the first half, the team's first advantage of the game. The Panthers would not trail again and stretched the lead to 37-30 at the break, their largest advantage after 20 minutes since leading Michigan Tech 45-36 in the first half on Dec. 9.

Jones tallied 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, making 5-of-6 free throws in the process and dishing out four assists. Mochoskay hit 4-of-6 three-pointers to help account for his 14 points, Gibbs scored 13 points in 17 minutes before fouling out, and John Trew (Barberton, Ohio) and Kapron both scored 10 for ODU. Kapron and Mochoskay guided ODU's bench to a 24-1 edge in scoring against Ashland.

The Panthers had another stellar shooting performance from the field, hitting 24-of-49 shots (49 percent), including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc (46.2 percent). ODU also went 17-of-20 from the charity stripe.

Ohio Dominican plays its regular season finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Tiffin. The two teams matched up last Saturday in a high-scoring affair that saw the Dragons come away with an 89-87 victory in Alumni Hall.

Contact: Scott Miles