Second Half Rally Falls Short for Men's Basketball in Season Opener

Sean Marks (Photo by: Jay Gehres)
Sean Marks (Photo by: Jay Gehres)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Sophomore Sean Marks (Delaware, Ohio) poured in a career-high 23 points, but the second half rally for the Ohio Dominican men's basketball team fell short Thursday evening, losing to Salem (W.Va.) 59-58 in the season opener inside Alumni Hall.

Marks paced the Panthers with his scoring effort, highlighted by a 15-point second half. Marks made 6-of-11 attempts from behind the arc, added six rebounds on the glass, and tied for the team high in assists with four.

Ohio Dominican only made two of its first 14 shots and fell into an early double-digit deficit, 20-7, just 10 minutes in. Despite the slow shooting start, a 5-0 scoring spurt, capped by a Kayin Derden (Columbus, Ohio) triple, brought ODU within eight points, 25-17, with 6:10 remaining in the first half.

Salem however, scored the final five points of the first stanza, pushing its lead to 14 points, 36-22, for its largest scoring margin over the first 20 minutes. The Black & Gold were held to just 7-of-28 shooting overall and 4-of-17 from deep. The Tigers flirted with 50 percent shooting for most of the first half.

Out of the break, the Panthers tighten up on the defensive end of the floor, holding Salem to only 23 second half points. Salem cooled off to a 7-of-22 shooting (.318) in the second half, a 20-minute period ODU won by 13 points.

Facing its largest deficit of the evening, 16 points, at 41-25, just over one minute into the second half, ODU held the Tigers scoreless for over seven minutes to pull within four points, 41-37. Derden and Marks netted treys during the spurt, which also included four makes from the charity stripe.

The Panthers' rally continued and one of four, second half three-pointers from Marks tied the game at 46-all with 7:48 remaining. ODU and Salem continued to trade baskets down the stretch as triples from Marks and freshman Zach Szul (Waterville, Ohio) tied the game at 54-and 57-all, respectively. Szul's first career field goal locked the game up with 28 seconds to play.

The Tigers took advantage of a foul under the basket with nine seconds remaining, as they netted both free throws to take a 59-57 lead. The Panthers raced down the court and were also fouled at the rim, as 1.7 seconds showed on the scoreboard. ODU though, could only capitalize on one attempt at the foul line and time expired off the errant second shot, giving Salem the 59-58 victory.

A trio of Panthers finished with double-digit rebounds, including senior Matt King (Mason, Ohio), who posted a team and career-high 12 boards. Junior Caleb Strohmeier (Edwardsville, Ill.) earned his second career start and made the most of it with his first career double-double. Strohmeier scored eight of his 12 game points in the second half and tallied a personal-best 11 rebounds as well.

Sophomore Ethan Haynes (Florence, Ky.) hit double-digits in rebounds (10) for the first time in his collegiate career, and fell just shy of a double-double with nine points. Haynes dished out four assists and paced ODU with two steals as well.

ODU will look to bounce back when it opens Great Midwest Athletic Conference play at Tiffin on Saturday, Dec. 5. The Panthers and Dragons are slated for a 3 p.m. tip-off.

Contact: Tyler Jester