COLUMBUS, Ohio – With nine lead changes and five ties, the Ohio Dominican men's basketball team knocked off Hillsdale 57-55 in an exciting South Division showdown in Alumni Hall. The win was the first time the Panthers have beaten Hillsdale.
Hillsdale (10-4; 6-4 GLIAC) took an early 5-2 lead three minutes into the game before Ohio Dominican (4-10; 2-8 GLIAC) used a 10-1 run to take the 12-6 lead at the 11:33 mark after junior Jesse Ward (North Pole, Alaska) notched home a three ball.
Sophomore Mark Minch (West Chester, Ohio) extended the Panther lead less than a minute later to 14-6 after connecting for his first points of the game, and senior Ledarius Stennis (Moss Point, MS) lifted the Panthers to a 17-6 lead when he connected on a three-point basket off an assist by sophomore Trent Weaver (Columbus, Ohio).
Sophomore Chad Nelson (Columbus, Ohio) pushed ODU's lead to 19-6 with a pair of free throws with less than eight minutes to play in the opening frame.
After 14 unanswered points by the Panthers, a Hillsdale basket by Kyle Cooper ended ODU's 19-3 run to make the score 21-8 at the 6:41 mark. The Panthers kept going the rest of the way, outscoring Hillsdale 12-8 to close the first 20 minutes.
The Panthers played lights out in the first half versus Hillsdale and the results showed with a 33-16 edge at the break, with Stennis pacing the team with 12 points.
The Chargers had no quit in them and came roaring back to make the second half a roller coaster.
Hillsdale scored the first six points to cut the Panther lead down to 11, 33-22 and Lucas Grose cut the lead back to single digits since the opening half after a basket at 15:07 to make the score 35-26, and a pair of Cody Smith's free throws cut the deficit down to seven, 35-28 after the first media timeout of the half.
Baskets by Nelson and senior Brandon Carr (Chicago, Ill.) gave the Panthers a double digit lead once more at 38-28 with 13:55 remaining in the game.
Slowly chipping away, Hillsdale cut the lead to one, 43-42 with 7:42 to play and took its first lead at 47-46 at 5:51 on a pair of free throws by Brandon Pritzl.
A three-point basket by Garrett Jones put the Chargers up by three, 49-46 with 4:28 left to play in the game, but baskets by Stennis and Minch put the Panthers back on top 51-50 with 3:07 showing on the clock.
With Hillsdale up by two, 53-51 and just over a minute showing on the game clock, Nelson nailed home a three after a kick-out from Carr, giving the Panthers a 54-53 lead.
Tim Dezelski made a basket to give the Chargers the lead once more at 55-54 with 43 seconds left to play, but a pair of clutch free throws by Carr gave the Panthers a 56-55 lead with 16.1 ticks on the clock.
A drive to basket by the Chargers ended short after a block by Nelson and the rebound by Weaver resulted in two free throws, and after notching one, the decision was sealed.
Stennis led the charge, scoring 18 points off the bench while adding three rebounds, two steals and a block. Nelson chipped in eight points, two rebounds and three assists while Carr had eight points and three rebounds.
Ohio Dominican will travel to North Canton, Ohio on Thursday, Jan. 23 for a 7:30 p.m. game against Walsh.
Contact: Sarah Twiggs