BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — A program-record eight-game winning streak that included a remarkable series of wins in the 2018 G-MAC Tournament came to an end for Ohio Dominican's men's basketball team on Saturday night in a 75-57 defeat to No. 2 Ferris State in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional.
The Panthers (20-11, 12-8 G-MAC) were making their first appearance in the NCAA Championship and reached the 20-win mark in a season for just the fourth time in program history. ODU went 3-1 in its first trip to the postseason since joining NCAA Division II.
Ferris State (33-1, 19-1 GLIAC) extended its program-record winning streak to 21 games and has now won 26 straight games in Jim Wink Arena.
ODU recorded 16 offensive rebounds and held the NCAA Midwest Region's top seed to just 43.3 percent shooting for the game. However, FSU played stifling defense and limited Ohio Dominican to just 34.3 percent shooting from the field, also holding the Panthers to just 2-of-16 shooting from three-point range (12.5 percent).
Leading the way for the Panthers was sophomore Hasan Varence (Queens, New York), who recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds, posting his 14th double-double of the season. Senior Shemar Waugh (Columbus, Ohio) scored 11 points in his 106th and final game as a Panther. Sophomore Sam Hickey (Toledo, Ohio) tallied nine points off the bench, while sophomore Ryan Hoyng (Celina, Ohio) added six points for the Panthers.
Ohio Dominican trailed just 30-29 at halftime after closing the first half on a 22-13 run. Ferris State jumped out to an early 17-7 lead, but the Panthers used solid defense and a patient offensive attack to get back into the game. Trailing 26-18 with 4:44 left until the break, Varence tipped in a missed shot, then pulled down the defensive rebound on the ensuing Bulldog possession and hit a three-pointer on the next trip down the floor to cut FSU's lead to just 26-23 at the 4:03 mark of the half. After 20 minutes, Waugh and Varence each tallied nine points, with Varence pulling down seven rebounds in the first half alone.
ODU was within three points at 44-41 with 13:56 to go and trailed just 49-45 at the 11:15 mark of the second half, but Ferris State turned up its pressure and went on a 9-2 run over the next 1:15 to take a 58-47 lead at the 10-minute mark. The Panthers cut the lead back down to seven, 58-51 with 8:03 to go on a Hoyng jumper. FSU then used an 11-0 burst over the next 1:57 to extend its lead to 69-51 with 6:06 remaining and seize full control.
Ohio Dominican's senior class of Waugh, Ronnie Williams (Columbus, Ohio), Alex Stevens (Delaware, Ohio), Mike DeLeon (Powell, Ohio) and Adam Cytlak (Van Buren, Ohio) made a combined 487 appearances and 332 starts in their time wearing the black and gold, taking the program to new heights over the course of their careers.
"They have provided this program a foundation that we can build from," Ohio Dominican head coach Dan Evans said of the Panther seniors. "They walk out as champions."
Contact: Aaron McPherson