By ANDY WOLF
Ohio Dominican finally got UF.
The Panthers played role as spoilers by scoring five points in the last 15 seconds to stun No. 11 University of Findlay men’s basketball team 68-66 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference tournament semifinals Friday night at Croy Gymnasium.
After ODU’s Ronnie Williams hit the tying 3-pointer, Ryan Hoyng picked off UF’s full-court inbounds pass at midcourt and fed Michael Scott for the game-winning layup with 0.2 seconds remaining.
The Oilers (26-4) didn’t get a shot off in time.
“It’s really exciting,” ODU coach Dan Evans said. “Obviously, the way it happened really heightens all of the emotion. It heightens the explosion when it’s over.
“But, as we sort of settle in here and get ready for tomorrow, it’ll become apparent we just beat a good team. University of Findlay men’s basketball is the flagship program of our league.”
Ohio Dominican (18-10), the No. 5 seed, will meet No. 2 Hillsdale (21-8) in the GMAC title game 2 p.m. today.
The Panthers, under Evans, routinely takes the Oilers down to the final minute whenever in Croy Gymnasium.
Findlay often prevails with enough plays in the final minute each time but Friday — winning the prior three meetings by seven, three and four points.
UF coach Charlie Ernst said they were trying to get the ball to senior forward Taren Sullivan with a designed play in mind for the last shot.
“Really, it just requires him to get a catch,” Ernst said of the play.
Evans figured the Oilers would go to Taren, as well, and talked through to his team the potential scenarios during UF’s timeout before the inbounds.
“Our young man (sophomore) Ryan Hoyng made a really smart play,” Evans said. “He anticipated, got his hand on the loose ball and had the presence of mind to fight through a little physicality and toss it ahead.”
Scott didn’t have anyone in front of him when he caught the dish off at the top of the key. He was a few steps ahead of the 6-foot-7 Alex White for UF.
“If it would’ve been behind (Scott) just a little, Alex probably would’ve caught up to it and blocked it,” Ernst said. “Give them credit. We had them in a great spot to win the game and we just couldn’t deliver the knockout blow.
Ohio Dominican lived by the 3-ball late.
Findlay couldn’t survive at the foul line. The Oilers, trying to put the game away, made only 3 of 7 free throw attempts in the last 2:20.
Each of their four senior starters missed a free throw in the span.
Taren Sullivan, Austin Gardner and Elijah Kahlig each made front ends but missed the back ends while Martyce Kimbrough missed the front end of a one-and-one with 45 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Hassan Varence drained a 3-pointer for ODU.
After Kahlig only made one free throw to put UF up 66-63, Williams rose and fired to make the seventh 3-pointer of the second half in 17 attempts for the Panthers.
“Ohio Dominican living by the three was no surprise to us,” Ernst said. “They’ve got some really good shooters and they made timely threes. I thought we defended the arc really well for 35 minutes. Unfortunately it’s a 40-minute game.”
Findlay carried a 37-28 lead into halftime after a back-and-fourth first half.
ODU made up the entire deficit and more on an 11-0 run to lead 54-52 by the halfway mark.
Findlay stole the momentum right back as Gardner drained a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run and give his team a 59-54 lead — one the Oilers would keep until the final second.
Kimbrough led the Oilers with 14 points while Sullivan added 13 points and eight rebounds.
While they combined to shoot 8 of 28 from the field, UF, collectively, shot 42.1 percent (24 of 57).
Their 5-for-20 night from long distance marked their second-worst percentage on the season.
“Give Ohio Dominican some credit; they defended us awfully well,” Ernst said. “They’ve got the depth to stay with us.”
Sam Hickey’s five 3-pointers and 21 points fronted Ohio Dominican. Varence added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers.
UF’s Aaron Overhiser (6-foot-7) and White added 11 and 10 points, respectively, after battling the 6-foot-6 Varence for the entire night.
“I thought Alex and Aaron both played very well tonight,” Ernst said. “It was tough sledding out there for both teams. I thought we did a lot of the things we wanted to do on the defensive end to be honest.”
OHIO DOMINICAN (19-10)
Casanova 1-2 0-0 2, Varence 5-12 0-0 11, Waugh 4-9 0-0 9, Cytlak 0-0 0-0 0, Hoyng 2-7 0-0 6, Williams 2-7 0-0 6, Hickey 8-14 0-0 21, Scott 4-6 0-0 8, DeLeon 2-2 1-2 5, Stevens 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28-63 1-2 68.
Sullivan 3-10 5-6 12, White 4-6 2-2 10, Gardner 3-5 1-2 8, Kimbrough 5-15 2-3 13, Kahlig 2-6 3-4 7, Smith 0-2 0-0 0, Schmock 1-4 0-0 3, Ashley 1-3 0-0 2, Overhiser 5-6 0-1 11. TOTALS: 24-57 13-18 66.
3-Point GOALS: Ohio Dominican 11-30 (Casanova 0-1, Varence 1-2, Waugh 1-4, Cytlak 0-3, Hoyng 2-4, Williams 2-6, Hickey 5-9, Scott 0-1); Findlay 5-20 (Sullivan 1-2, Gardner 1-2, Kimbrough 1-6, Kahlig 0-3, Smith 0-2, Schmock 1-1, Ashley 0-2., Overhiser 1-2).
rebounds: Ohio Dominican 40 (Varence 11); Findlay 34 (Sullivan 8).
ASSISTS: Ohio Dominican 14 (Scott 4); Findlay 10 (Sullivan 4).
STEALS: Ohio Dominican 8 (Williams 3); Findlay 9 (White 4).
BLOCKS: Ohio Dominican 3 (Williams 2); Findlay 4 (Overhiser 2).
TURNOVERS: Ohio Dominican 13; Findlay 11.
TOTAL FOULS: Ohio Dominican 15; Findlay 7
FOULED OUT: Ohio Dominican (DeLeon).
HALFTIME: Findlay 37-28.