Panthers Topple Division I Salukis 64-63 in Historic Season Opening Win

Don Kellum (courtesy Southern Illinois)
Don Kellum (courtesy Southern Illinois)

CARBONDALE, Ill. – In a see-saw affair featuring seven ties and 13 lead changes, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team scored one of the biggest wins in school history, taking down Division I Southern Illinois of the Missouri Valley Conference 64-63 Saturday night at SIU Arena.

The victory is ODU's first over a current Division I program, dating back to the 1984-85 season. The Panthers had been 0-8 against Division I teams.

Trailing 61-60, the Panthers (1-0) hit four free throws in the closing 52 seconds while forcing two missed shots and a turnover by the Salukis (0-1). Senior Zak Kapron (Malvern, Ohio) tied the game at 61, senior Jake Mochoskay (Mansfield, Ohio) hit two freebies to put ODU back on top with 30 seconds left, and sophomore Don Kellum (Chicago, Ill.) accounted for ODU's final tally with 17 ticks remaining to make it 64-61.

SIU missed a three-pointer to tie with eight seconds left and made a two-point jumper before time expired, but it wasn't enough as the Panthers emerged victorious.

Junior Morgan Jones (Oberlin, Ohio) led ODU with 15 points, hitting 6-of-12 from the field, and had a game-high five steals. Kellum went 4-for-4 from the field for 11 points, and sophomore Brandon Carr (Westchester, Ill.) and Mochoskay both had eight points.

Senior Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, Ohio) had eight rebounds and a pair of blocks and Mochoskay also chipped in with seven boards.

Southern Illinois led by as many as seven in the second half, grabbing a 43-36 advantage three and a half minutes in, but ODU answered with seven straight of its own to tie the game. Gibbs hit a jumper, Jones drilled a three and Kellum had a jumper to even the contest at 43 with 14:53 left.

The Panthers then took their first lead since midway through the first half on Kellum's fastbreak slam to go in front 45-44, and after the teams swapped baskets, ODU used a 7-0 surge to take its biggest lead of the game at 57-50. Jones hit two free throws and Carr knocked down a jump shot and three-pointer to give ODU that cushion with 5:48 to play.

The host Salukis didn't go quietly, though. SIU rattled off seven straight points as part of a 9-1 run, going back on top 59-58 with 2:13 left. Gibbs hit a free throw to tie it at 59, and Kellum followed with another from the charity stripe to put ODU on top 60-59 with 1:21 remaining. The Salukis hit two free throws of their own with 1:04 left to take their final lead at 61-60.

ODU held on for the win despite not making a shot from the field in the final 5:48 of the game, turning the ball over 27 times, and going 13-of-24 from the free throw line.

The Panthers held strong on the boards, finishing just minus-four on the glass (39-35), and converted 11 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points. The bench provided a huge spark as Kellum, Carr, sophomore Zack Joseph (Lewis Center, Ohio), senior Darrien Douglas (Willard, Ohio) and freshman Bobby Stauffer (Lexington, Ky.) combined for 27 points and 11 rebounds.

ODU led for much of the opening 10 minutes of the game, and a triple by Joseph put the Panthers on top 20-16 with 9:05 to play in the frame. SIU scored 10 straight, though, and increased its lead to 30-22 with 3:29 left in the half as Jones scored the final six points of the half for ODU to cut the deficit to 33-30 at intermission.

Ohio Dominican has a quick turnaround as the Panthers take on Division II's 12th-ranked team, Southern Indiana, at 4 p.m. ET Sunday. Live audio is available on www.pressboxproductions.net.

Contact: Scott Miles
miless@ohiodominican.edu