FINDLAY, Ohio — Ohio Dominican men's basketball sophomore Ryan Hoyng (Celina, Ohio) made a steal near midcourt with the game tied and time winding down, finding sophomore Michael Scott (Hebron, Kentucky) for the game-winning layup with 0.2 seconds to go, earning a 68-66 win for the Panthers over No. 11 Findlay in front of a packed Croy Gymnasium on Friday night in a Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal game.
The Panthers (19-10, 12-8 G-MAC) will continue their Cinderella run tomorrow in the Great Midwest championship after knocking off higher-seeded Malone and Findlay in the first two rounds, taking on Hillsdale in their first conference championship appearance in the team's NCAA Division II era. ODU is the hottest team in the conference, now winners of seven-straight and 11 of its last 12.
Ohio Dominican trailed UF (26-4, 19-1 G-MAC) 65-60 with 45 seconds to go. After a missed Findlay free throw and defensive rebound by sophomore Sam Hickey (Toledo, Ohio) gave the Panthers possession, sophomore forward Hasan Varence (Queens, New York) hit a three-pointer from the left wing on an assist from Scott to cut ODU's deficit to just 65-63 with 30 seconds remaining.
Another Panther foul put Findlay on the free throw line, but the Oilers were just able to connect on one of two from the line and Hickey once again collected the defensive rebound with the Panthers down by three.
With the season hanging in the balance, senior Ronnie Williams (Columbus, Ohio) hit a clutch three-pointer from the right wing with 15 seconds to go, tying the game at 66-66.
After a pause in the action to reset the game clock, Findlay took possession and advanced into the frontcourt. Near midcourt, Hoyng deflected on Oiler pass and Scott went streaking down the court. Hoyng found Scott on the breakaway, and Scott was able to convert on the layup with 0.2 seconds to go, earning a 68-66 win for the Panthers.
The win marks the first victory for ODU over Findlay in Croy in the Panthers' NCAA Division II era and just their eighth win over the Oilers all-time. It's the Panthers' first win over a top 25 opponent since a January 7, 2016 win over No. 13 Lake Superior State.
Findlay came into the contest with a 234-10 record in Croy Gymnasium over the last 15 years and had last lost at home to Lake Superior State on December 10, 2016. With the victory, ODU earns its seventh-straight win, tying a program record for consecutive wins in a single season.
Ohio Dominican hit 11 three-pointers in the contest while holding Findlay to just 5-of-20 shooting from behind the arc. The Panthers outrebounded Findlay 40-34 and notched 14 assists on 28 made field goals.
Hickey scored 21 points and pulled down six rebounds while connecting on 5-of-9 three-point field goals. Varence finished with his 13th double-double of the season and his eighth in the last 10 games, recording 11 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Shemar Waugh (Columbus, Ohio) scored nine points, while Scott added eight points and four assists off the bench.
Ohio Dominican will take on Hillsdale tomorrow in the 2018 Great Midwest Athletic Conference championship in Croy Gymnasium at 2 p.m.
Contact: Aaron McPherson