Men's Basketball Holds Off Lake Erie 82-77 In Season Finale

Men's Basketball Holds Off Lake Erie 82-77 In Season Finale

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A length of the floor pass and layup helped Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team hold off Lake Erie 82-77 in the team's season finale Thursday night.

Leading 78-77 with 23 seconds to play and facing full court pressure, junior Adam Cytlak (Van Buren, Ohio) found freshman Sam Hickey (Toledo, Ohio) streaking down the floor and hit him in stride near the free throw line. Hickey's layup was blocked off the rim for a goaltending call to give the Panthers an 80-77 lead.

On the ensuing possession, junior Shemar Waugh (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Ben Casanova (Sylvania, Ohio) teamed up on a steal, and Casanova sank two free throws with 10 seconds left to seal the win.

The victory gave the Panthers a 14-12 record on the season, ODU's first winning season since the 2007-08 campaign. The Panthers also finished 9-11 in GLIAC play.

Freshman Hasan Varence (Queens, N.Y.) scored a career high 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting while also pulling down seven rebounds. Hickey finished with 11 points off the bench and junior Ronnie Williams (Columbus, Ohio) added 10 points.

The Panthers started the game on a 12-3 run, capped by a fastbreak layup by Varence, and the Panthers led by as many as 11 (19-8) on another basket inside by Varence just over five minutes into play. Lake Erie drew even at 33 with less than four minutes left, though, and led 40-39 at intermission.

The second half was a see-saw affair before ODU finally pulled ahead at the midway point. Cytlak and Hickey knocked down consecutive threes in front of the ODU bench to give ODU a 62-56 lead with 10:30 left. Williams then found sophomore Alex Stevens (Delaware, Ohio) with a bounce pass for a layup, and Stevens powered in another layup to give the Panthers a 68-58 lead with 8:46 left

ODU was still in front by nine, 76-67, after two Varence free throws with 4:06 to play, but Lake Erie scored seven straight to pull within76-74 with two and a half minutes left.

Junior Shemar Waugh (Columbus, Ohio) then found Casanova for a layup with one second on shot clock to make it 78-74 with 1:55 left. Lake Erie hit a three with 25 seconds left to draw back within a point before the Panthers closed the game out with the final four points.

ODU shot 52.5 percent from the field (32-of-61) and turned the ball over just seven times.

Contact: Scott Miles