ERIE, Pa. — With its best start to a season since 2004-05, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team grinded out a 66-56 victory against Gannon in the Gary Miller Classic Championship at Gannon University on Saturday night.
The Panthers (4-1, 0-0 GLIAC) shot 50 percent for the contest (22-of-44) while holding Gannon (2-2, 1-1 PSAC) to 34.5 percent (19-of-55) from the field. In its past two games, ODU has held its opponents to an average of 57 points per game on 35.7 percent shooting. The Panthers defeated Malone 75-58 in the semifinal game of the Gary Miller Classic on Friday night.
Ohio Dominican freshman Hasan Varence (Queens, New York) earned Gary Miller Classic Most Outstanding Player honors and the squad also saw junior Shemar Waugh (Columbus, Ohio) named to the All-Tournament team. Varence averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and one block over the two games, while Waugh averaged 11.5 points and three assists for the tournament.
ODU recorded assists on 14 of its 22 baskets against Gannon and the Panthers finished with a season-high four blocked shots, with Varence swatting away two. The Panthers shot 47.4 percent from three-point range (9-of-19) and so far Ohio Dominican is shooting an average of 43.4 percent from downtown, holding its opponents to 25.7 percent from behind the arc.
Junior Adam Cytlak (Van Buren, Ohio) led Ohio Dominican with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range, also recording four rebounds, two assists and one block. Varence finished with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and a team-high seven rebounds and two blocks. Waugh finished with 11 points, going 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
The two teams played even through 20 minutes, with the score tied 26-26 at halftime. But trailing 33-31 at the 14:14 mark of the second half, junior Mike DeLeon (Powell, Ohio) scored on a layup to spark a 10-0 run for the Panthers, who never surrendered the lead for the remainder of the contest. Cytlak would connect on a three-pointer at the 12:05 mark at the apex of the run, giving the Panthers a 41-33 advantage.
Gannon fought back, going on a 12-4 run to bring the score to 46-45 with 6:50 to play, but another crucial three-pointer by Cytlak gave ODU a 49-45 lead with 6:34 to go and gave Ohio Dominican the breathing room it needed. Gannon could not overcome the deficit, and Ohio Dominican went on to win by a final score of 66-56.
Ohio Dominican was won two-straight and four of its first five contests to begin the season and will look to continue its momentum as it begins GLIAC play at Ferris State on Thursday, December 1.
Contact: Aaron McPherson