Hickey's 27 Points, Simon's Late Free Throws Send Panthers to Thrilling Win Over Wayne State

Sam Hickey
Sam Hickey

DETROIT, Mich. – Senior Sam Hickey (Toledo, Ohio) scored a game-high 27 points and classmate Michael Simon (Hilliard, Ohio) made two free throws in the final second as Ohio Dominican men's basketball outlasted Wayne State on the road Friday evening, 87-86, in a double-overtime, season-opening thriller.

Hickey scored seven of the Panthers (1-0) 14 points over the two overtime periods, and added four rebounds and three assists in the win. The senior played a career-high 47 minutes as well.

The Panthers have now won back-to-back meetings against WSU, also taking last season's opening game, 92-79. ODU also recorded its first double overtime victory in its Division II era Friday evening. The victory was also the first for first-year head coach Kelly Winter

Wayne State (0-1) forced overtime after making a layup with 15 seconds remaining, tying the game at 73-all. Redshirt freshman Ethan Haynes (Florence, Ky.), who played 26 minutes off the bench in his collegiate debut, briefly gave the Black & Gold a two-point advantage with a his only basket of the night, a three pointer from the top of the key. Haynes' performance also included eight rebounds.

The Panthers never led in the first overtime period, falling behind by as many as four points, 79-75. Hickey though, capped a 6-2 spurt with a deep trey to tie the contest at 81-81 with nine seconds showing on the clock. ODU forced an errant shot by the Warriors as time expired, sending the game into a second five-minute session.

Again, ODU trailed for much of the second extra period, but this time, scoring the final four points proved to be enough. Hickey netted two free throws with 57 seconds remaining to pull the Panthers within one point, 86-85. After forcing a WSU turnover, the Black & Gold recorded three offensive rebounds in their final offensive possession, with the last coming from Simon, who drew a foul on a putback attempt.

Wayne State tried to ice the senior by calling a timeout, but the Central Ohio native calmly sank both shots from the charity stripe to put ODU up 87-86 with 0.9 seconds remaining. The Warriors desperation heave was off the mark, giving the Panthers their second straight season opening win and fourth in the past five seasons.

Senior Hasan Varence (Queens, N.Y.) and junior Matt King (Mason, Ohio) each posted a double-double. Varence, who battled foul trouble most of the evening, finished with 20 points -- on 9-of-16 shooting -- and a team-high 13 rebounds for his 34th career double-double. King's first collegiate double-double saw him log a personal-high 44 minutes, 14 points and 10 rebounds.

ODU led by as many as seven points in the first half, as a three-point play from Hickey gave the Panthers a 21-14 advantage with 10:30 left in the period. The Warriors though, scored five points in the final minute to take a 39-34 lead into the intermission.

The second half was played within a 10-point window, with WSU leading by as many as six points and ODU by as many as four. An 8-0 Wayne State run gave them a 58-54 edge with 11:08 remaining in regulation. However, one of Hickey's four treys and a jumper from Varence put the Panthers back on top, 70-68, heading into the final minutes of the second half.

Senior Michael Scott (Hebron, Ky.) paced the Panthers with six assists and added six points. The Panthers had 16 helpers to WSU's 12 and enjoyed a 54-51 edge in total rebounds as well. ODU's performance at the foul line was key in the win, as they went 18-of-19, including makes on their final nine attempts, while the Warriors finished 17-for-29 (.586).

Ohio Dominican will look to build off the season opening win when the team returns home to welcome Ashland for a 3 p.m. tip on Sunday, Nov. 10.