By ODU Sports Information Intern Tyler Jester
COLUMBUS, Ohio - In a game where the teams traded the lead back and forth for most of the second half, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team was able to hold onto a late lead to win 80-68 over Tiffin in a Monday evening, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest.
Both teams played well offensively in the first half, but the story of the game was the Panthers' defense in the second half of the game. Trailing by three at halftime, ODU outscored Tiffin 43-28 in the second half, holding the Dragons to 8-29 shooting (27.6%).
Meanwhile, the Panthers shot the ball well for the entire game ,shooting 29-53 from the field (49.1%) and 22-27 (81.5%) from the foul line, including 17-21 in the second half, to clinch the victory.
The Panthers had trouble early breaking the Tiffin press as the Dragons led 7-2. A basket by sophomore center Trent Weaver (Columbus, OH) cut the deficit to three as ODU trailed 9-6.
The pace picked up as both team wanted to move quickly offensively, trading baskets during the first six minutes of play. After sophomore center Jordan Cowgill (Worthington, OH) converted on an old-fashioned three-point play, ODU trailed Tiffin 17-14 with 14:02 at the first media timeout.
The score stayed tight as both teams continued to trade baskets and after two made jump shots by sophomore guard Chad Nelson (Columbus, OH) the game was tied 23-23 with 9:18 remaining in the first half.
Tiffin went on a 7-1 run to go in front 30-24, but a layup by sophomore guard Mark Minch (West Chester, OH) and two free throws from senior guard Brandon Carr (Chicago, IL) cut the deficit to four, 32-28 with 4:17 remaining.
After the Dragons took a 6 point lead, a couple of three pointers from the right wing left the Panthers only trailing by 3 at halftime, 40-37. The Panthers bench outscored the Dragons bench 29-5 in the first half, but Tiffin scored 12 points on 9 first half turnovers by the Panthers to have the halftime lead.
Both teams came out of the half wanting to continue to push the pace. After a pair of free throws by Nelson and a jumper by freshman guard Reece Dils (Saline, MI) the game was tied 42-42. Then the Dragons went on a 9-0 run to take a 51-42 lead, their largest of the game, with 15:41 left.
The Panthers, though, were able to pull within one point after junior guard Jesse Ward (North Pole, AK) hit a left corner three point shot, and a layup by Weaver cut the score to 54-53 with 9:55 remaining.
ODU took its first lead of the game at 55-54 after a layup by Minch coming off an offensive rebound. The Dragons answered quickly with a basket of their own to retake the lead 56-55 with 8:40 remaining in the second half.
A made free throw from Weaver gave the Panthers the lead again in this sea-saw game, and after an impressive three point play by Minch, ODU led 63-59 lead with 5:35 left.
A three pointer from Ward in the right corner as the shot clock was closing in on zero forced the Dragons to use a timeout with 2:42 to play as ODU led 68-62. Two free throws from Nelson with 1:54 remaining in the game pushed the ODU lead to eight, 72-64, and Tiffin would never make it a one-possession game down the stretch as the Panthers continued to connect from the line.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 5-14 on the season and 3-12 in the GLIAC.
The Panthers were paced in scoring tonight by Minch who scored 21 points off the bench and also grabbed 6 rebounds. Carr also came off the bench to add 15 points and four rebounds. The one starter in double figures for ODU was Weaver, who scored 15 points and led the Panthers in rebounds with nine.
ODU's bench outscored the Tiffin bench 48-5 in the game.
For Tiiffin, Joe Graessle paced the Dragons in scoring with 16 points and surpassed the 2,000 career point mark on a free throw in the second half.
Ohio Dominican will be back on the road Thursday as they travel to Findlay to battle the Oilers. ODU will look to keep their success going Thursday, February 6, with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. in Croy Gymnasium at the University of Findlay.
Contact: Sarah Twiggs