COLUMBUS, Ohio – Trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team outscored Tiffin 41-30 in the final 20 minutes and rallied for a 70-66 win in Saturday's season finale in Alumni Hall.
The victory snapped a 14-game losing skid for the Panthers, who closed the year with a 4-22 mark (1-18 GLIAC). The Dragons closed the season 15-14 (7-12 GLIAC).
With the contest knotted at 64 with 1:17 remaining, senior forward Aaron Gibbs (Oberlin, Ohio) drew a foul bringing the ball up the floor and drilled both free throws to put the Panthers in front. The teams swapped misses on the ensuing possessions, and after senior center Zak Kapron (Malvern, Ohio) grabbed a defensive rebound, junior guard Morgan Jones (Oberlin, Ohio) sank two more free throws to make it 68-64 with 21 ticks left.
Jones then made the defensive play of the game as the conference leader in steals picked Tiffin guard Karl Finley's pocket in the backcourt and hit two more free throws to put the Panthers on top 70-64, and the Dragons could muster just one bucket with five seconds left.
ODU's six free throw makes in the final 1:17 were part of a perfect 16-for-16 effort at the charity stripe on the afternoon, setting a school record for the most makes without a miss at the free throw line.
Jones led all players with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 28 minutes off the bench. He also had four assists and four rebounds. Senior forward Jake Mochoskay (Mansfield, Ohio) had 17 points, hitting all six of his free throws, and grabbed a team-high seven boards, while Gibbs had 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks, playing all 20 minutes in the second half. Kapron chipped in with eight points and four rebounds.
Tiffin scored 10 unanswered points in the first half to claim a 20-10 lead, then pushed that margin to 32-18 at the 5:09 mark. Jones scored five straight for the Panthers to make it 32-23, and a jumper by Gibbs trimmed the deficit to 36-29 at the break.
It took ODU just three minutes into the second half to even the score, as the Panthers reeled off an 11-2 run, bolstered by a five-point possession on a three-point play by Kapron and two Mochoskay free throws on a Tiffin technical. That knotted the score at 40, and Mochoskay's knifing layup at the 15:32 mark gave the Panthers their first lead since the opening minute at 42-41.
There was a pair of lead changes and three ties in the ensuing minutes. ODU, holding a 54-53 lead, created some separation with a 7-1 run, though. Kapron had a three-point play after a nifty pass from senior guard Kip Kelley (Raleigh, N.C.), and Jones and Mochoskay both scored on transition layups to put ODU on top 61-54 with 5:53 to play.
Tiffin recovered to tie the game at 64 at the 2:02 mark, but the Dragons missed on an opportunity to take the lead with a missed jumper with 90 seconds left and Gibbs drew the foul to set up the ending.
After allowing Tiffin to shoot 50 percent (16-of-32) in the first half, the Panther defense locked down on the Dragons in the second frame, holding TU to just 25 percent shooting (9-of-36) and 1-of-12 (8.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
That helped ODU offset a 46-33 disparity in rebounding, including 21-10 on the offensive glass. The Panthers finished the game shooting 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the floor.
Contact: Scott Miles