COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following victories in two of its last three contests, Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team will travel to Michigan to take on Wayne State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and will face Saginaw Valley on Sunday at 3 p.m. in its fifth and sixth GLIAC contests of the 2016-17 season.
About Ohio Dominican
The Panthers (6-3, 2-2 GLIAC) are off to their best start to a season since a 6-3 start to begin the 2007-08 campaign. The squad is the fastest to reach the six-win mark for a season since the program moved to NCAA Division II.
ODU has been hot from three-point range to begin the year, ranking second in the GLIAC in three-point shooting percentage at 40.8 percent. Defensively, Ohio Dominican has stifled its opponents from behind the arc, holding opponents to just 29.9 percent shooting from three-point range through nine games.
The Panthers are sharing the ball well so far, averaging 17.1 assists per game as a team to rank second in the GLIAC in assists per contest.
ODU is 3-1 in road games just one season removed from a 2-12 away record. The Panthers need just two more wins to equal their win total in road games from the previous two seasons.
Freshman Hasan Varence (Queens, New York) leads Ohio Dominican in points per game (13.2) and rebounds per game (7.7). Varence is shooting 62 percent from the field and is also 4-of-7 from three-point range this season (57.1 percent). Varence has recorded two double-doubles so far this year and has recorded at least 10 points and eight rebounds in five contests.
Freshman guard Sam Hickey (Toledo, Ohio) scored 27 points and went 8-of-13 from three-point range in the Panthers' 74-62 victory over Northern Michigan on Thursday and followed up his hot-shooting performance with 10 points on 2-of-4 shooting from behind the arc against Michigan Tech on Saturday. Hickey's eight three-pointers against NMU ranks second all-time for most three-pointers in a game in Ohio Dominican men's basketball history, and through the squad's first nine contests, Hickey is shooting 53.1 percent from three-point range (26-of-49), currently ranking third in the GLIAC in three-point shooting percentage.
Junior guard Ronnie Williams (Columbus, Ohio) ranks second on the squad in points per game (12.2), scoring in double-figures in six of the Panthers' nine contests. Williams has scored 707 points thus far in his career through 64 games, and his shooting percentage so far this season of 43.8 percent represents his best shooting percentage in a season for his career.
About Wayne State
The Warriors (7-1, 4-0 GLIAC) currently sit atop the GLIAC standings. Wayne State is the only unbeaten team in GLIAC play and is riding a seven-game winning streak entering Thursday night's contest against Ohio Dominican.
WSU has stifled its opponents defensively, holding opposing teams to 63.3 points per game to rank second in the GLIAC in points allowed per contest. Opposing teams are shooting just 40.3 percent from the field against the Warriors, with the squad also recording 7.9 steals per game to rank third in the conference.
Junior guard Ronald Booth leads Wayne State in points per game and ranks 11th in the GLIAC in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per contest. Junior guard Marcus Moore ranks 20th in the conference and second on the squad in points per game with 13.3, and junior forward Chuck Key comes in at 22nd in the GLIAC and third on the team in points per game at 13.0.
About Saginaw Valley State
The Cardinals (9-1, 3-1 GLIAC) are ranked seventh in NCAA Division II entering their matchup with Ohio Dominican on Sunday.
SVSU fell at Tiffin on Saturday, 82-76, marking its first loss of the season. The squad reached the Elite Eight last season and finished 2015-16 with a mark of 25-8 (18-4 GLIAC).
Through ten games, the Cardinals rank third in the GLIAC in points per game (84.1), third in rebounds per game (39.3) and fifth in assists per contest (16.1). Saginaw Valley holds its opponents to 69.6 points per game on just 31.3 percent shooting from three-point range, with both marks ranking fourth in the GLIAC.
Leading the way for SVSU are seniors C.J. Turnage and Garrett Hall. Turnage ranks 10th in the GLIAC in scoring at 16.6 points per game on 61.3 percent shooting, and Hall comes in at 12th in the conference in points per game with 16.2 points per contest.
Contact: Aaron McPherson