Panthers Storm Past Lake Erie For First Win of 2021

Zach Szul (Photo by Jay Gehres)
Zach Szul (Photo by Jay Gehres)

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A strong second half led the Ohio Dominican men's basketball team to a 52-46 triumph at Lake Erie Saturday afternoon in Great Midwest action.  

With the win, the Panthers improve to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the G-MAC. Saturday's contest was Lake Erie's first of the season, marking the seventh consecutive season opening loss for the Storm.  

Sophomore Sean Marks (Delaware, Ohio) paced the Panthers with 18 points, six assists and two steals. Marks assist and steal totals set new career highs.  

Also scoring in double figures was freshman Zach Szul (Waterville, Ohio) with 12 points. Sophomore Ethan Haynes (Florence, Ky.) added nine points, while leading ODU with a career-best 11 rebounds. 

A slow start offensively saw the Black & Gold lead 5-4 over six minutes into play. ODU though, was held scoreless for nearly 10 minutes and trailed by as many as 14 points during the stretch 

A late scoring rally for the Panthers, which saw them score 12 of the final 14 first-half points brought their deficit to four at the break, 21-17. Lake Erie was held to just two points over the final 8:33 of the opening stanza.  

One of three second half triples from Haynes tied the game at 23-all at the 18:10 mark. The sophomore's second three-point field goal gave ODU its first lead since the opening minutes of the game, 29-27, with 13:18 to play.  

Ohio Dominican extended its lead to as many as seven points, as an 11-0 spurt gave the team a 34-27 advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining. Lake Erie though, stormed back to score 12 of the next 17 points and tie the game at 39-39 with 5:24 to play.  

Haynes' third make from behind the arc allowed ODU to recapture the lead, 42-39, an advantage the Panthers would not relinquish the remainder of the contest. After securing a defensive stop, Marks followed the Haynes triple with a running floater in the lane to give the Black & Gold a five-point lead with less than four minutes to play.  

The Storm were able to close the gap to as little as three points down the stretch, but two more jumpers from Marks allowed the Panthers to secure their first win of the New Year.  

Both sides shot under 40 percent for the game, but it was ODU who made three more shots from behind the arc (9-6). The Panthers also enjoyed a slight 37-35 advantage on the glass.  

Ohio Dominican will return to action at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 5, with a home contest against Cedarville. 

Contact: Tyler Jester