Panthers Claw Back, Fall 77-72 at Tiffin in Season Finale

Aaron Gibbs
Aaron Gibbs

TIFFIN, Ohio – Trailing by 22 points early in the second half at GLIAC South Division foe Tiffin, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team rallied but could not pull off the stunning comeback, falling 77-72 Saturday.

The Panthers wrapped up their initial season in the GLIAC with a 6-20 mark overall and 3-16 in the conference. Tiffin finishes 9-17 (7-12 GLIAC).

Tiffin, sparked by three straight three-pointers by Joe Graessle, jumped to an 11-3 lead three minutes into the game. The Dragons hit five of their first six from beyond the arc and stretched the lead to 19-8, but a layup by sophomore guard Darrien Douglas (Willard, Ohio) and a three-pointer from junior forward Jake Mochoskay (Mansfield, Ohio) brought the Panthers to within five at 20-15 at the 12:04 mark.

The Dragons were able to keep their lead between five and 10 points over the next seven minutes before closing the first half on a 16-3 run to take a 53-33 lead at the break. Tiffin shot 58.3 percent (21-of-36) in the opening 20 minutes, while the Panthers connected on just 11-of-34 (32.4 percent) from the field.

TU's lead grew to 22 moments into the second half, but the Panthers used a 19-8 run to trim the lead to 63-52 with 12 minutes left, with junior forward Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, Ohio) making a layup cutting to the basket and Mochoskay hanging in the air to hit a baseline jump shot. Mochoskay hit a three in transition to make it 67-57, Douglas made a free throw and Gibbs' banked jumper from the left block cut it to 67-60 with just over eight to play.

Freshman guard Zack Joseph (Lewis Center, Ohio) buried a three from the left wing to bring the Panthers to within four, 69-65. ODU's defense appeared to make a stop on the ensuing possession, but Graessle threw up a prayer from about 35 feet to beat the shot clock, and after an ODU turnover, another Tiffin basket made it 74-65 with 4:35 remaining.

Jones hit a jumper from the free throw line, and Gibbs converted a three-point play to bring ODU back to 74-70 with 2:20 left. Junior center Zak Kapron (Malvern, Ohio) tipped in a missed shot to make it 75-72 with just 1:06 left. After a Tiffin turnover, ODU had an open look at three from the left corner but missed with nine ticks left.

The Panthers were forced to foul, but Tiffin missed the front end of its one and one and Mochoskay grabbed the rebound. ODU, though, turned the ball over with 2.5 seconds, and Tiffin hit two free throws to seal it.

Gibbs recorded his sixth double-double of the season as he finished with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Kapron came off the bench for his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Mochoskay had 13 points and six rebounds off the bench as well for the Panthers.

Contact: Scott Miles