By ANDY WOLF
Twenty-four lead changes; 14 in the second half.
Two in the final minute.
The University of Findlay men’s basketball team got the last one, and scored eight points in the last 15 seconds to beat Ohio Dominican 89-82 in another thriller between the schools Thursday night at Croy Gymnasium.
UF senior forward Alex White got wide open under the basket and converted Chazz George’s entry feed to put the Oilers up 83-82 with 15 seconds remaining for the last of his team-high 22 points.
“(ODU) knew it was going to go to me,” White said. “They tried to front me in the post, screen came, back cut and that’s just how it worked.”
White also led the Oilers with 10 rebounds.
The win propelled the 17th-ranked Oilers (13-2) into sole possession of first place in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with a 7-1 league mark.
The Panthers, who had been the only other one-loss team in the conference, fell to 9-5, 5-2.
“Going into the game we knew it was going to be a tough one,” White said. “Physical, kind of mental, too. Just overall a win is a win.
“GMAC wins this time are big. To host these guys and pick up a win that way, close down at the end of the stretch, it feels great.”
After White’s make to put the Oilers ahead, ODU senior Sam Hickey forced a deep 3-pointer, contested by Trey Smith that clanked off to UF sophomore Anthony Masterlasco, who was fouled.
Masterlasco swished both free throws, but the Panthers still had a chance, down 85-82 and 5.1 seconds on the clock.
That chance was quickly snuffed out by sophomore point guard Tommy Schmock, who stepped in front of ODU’s Arius Jones to deflect the half-court inbounds pass and chased it the other way to the right corner before hitting an off-balance 3-pointer.
Schmock was fouled on the play and converted the free throw for the final margin.
Schmock was guarding ODU’s Michael Scott initially before switching off on a screen.
“I saw (the inbounder) was looking at the guy I switched onto, so I tried to jump it,” Schmock said. “I knew they were going to foul me. I knew even if I missed it and they didn’t foul the clock would run out.”
“I thought it was awesome with the student section right in front of my face. Probably haven’t hit a big shot like that in my life before.”
Schmock totaled 15 points and dished out a career-high 10 assists to two turnovers on the night with three steals.
He also “wowed” upon hearing the number of lead changes.
The game was another chapter in the budding rivalry between the Panthers and the Oilers.
ODU got the last laugh 68-66 last time at Croy Gymnasium in the GMAC semifinals a year ago as Ryan Hoyng’s steal at UF’s end reversed action and led to Scott’s breakaway game-winning lay-up at the buzzer.
“ODU is starting to build into our rival, especially for me,” Schmock said. “That’s what games are supposed to be like. Great atmosphere.”
ODU’s 6-foot-6 post player Hasan Varence had game-highs of 26 points and 13 rebounds.
He went for 19 in the second half, including the go-ahead bucket in the paint for ODU’s last lead at 82-81 with 22.2 seconds left.
The score capped a 7-0 run by the Panthers as the Oilers couldn’t hold six-point lead at the 3-minute mark.
Varence spent most of the game matched up against the 6-foot-7 White.
Each won their share of battles at both ends.
“They’re, in my opinion, the two premier big kids in the league,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “They have had some real wars in the last two years.
“They’re both good defenders. Both made three 3s tonight.”
Going into the game, White made sure to keep his focus on Varence the whole night.
“At the end of the day, all you can do is pat each other on the back,” White said.
Aaron Overhiser scored 15 points and Smith added 13 points and four steals in starting roles for UF.
Chazz George played more time at the 4 with Overhiser battling foul trouble and scored eight of his 12 points in the second half.
Ernst commended Smith’s defense on limiting the damage of ODU junior sharpshooter Sam Hickey.
Hickey finished with 12 points, was 2 of 7 from downtown and twice lost the ball to Smith defending.
“Trey really had a couple steals on him from behind, did a great job of contesting his 3-pointer to take the lead on us, had to shoot it from deep,” Ernst said. “He was a little bit uncomfortable and out of rhythm because of the previous steals Trey had. It only takes a little bit to throw your shot off.”
Ohio DOMINICAN (9-4)
King 2-3 0-0–4, Varence 11-17 1-2–26, Hickey 5-10 0-0–12, Hoyng 7-12 0-0–17, Curry 1-5 0-0–2, Jones 1-1 0-0–2, Scott 4-6 0-0–9, Casanova 1-2 3-4–5, Simon 1-1 2-3–5. TOTALS: 33-57 6-9–82.
Masterlasco 3-10 2-2–8, Overhiser 5-7 4-4–15, White 9-14 1-6–22, Smith 5-11 1-2–13, Schmock 6-10, 1-1–15, George 5-11 1-4–12, Linder 1-4 0-0–2, Stover 0-0 2-2–2. TOTALS: 34-67 12-21–89.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 37-36.
3-Point GOALS: Ohio Dominican 10-20 (Varence 3-4, Hickey 2-7, Hoyng 3-5, Curry 0-1, Scott 1-2, Simon 1-1); Findlau 9-27 (Masterlasco 0-3, Overhider 1-2, White 3-6, Smith 2-6, Schmock 2-5, George 1-4, Linder 0-1).
rebounds: Ohio Dominican 34 (Varence 13); Findlay 25 (White 10).
turnovers: Ohio Dominican 18, Findlay 5.
STEALS: Findlay 12 (Smith 4, Schmock 3); Ohio Dominican 5 (Varence 2).
ASSISTS: Ohio Dominican 20 (Curry 4); Findlau 15 (Schmock 10).
BLOCKED SHOTS: Findlay 1 (White); Ohio Dominican 0.
FOULS: Ohio Domnican 18, Findlay 12.
FOULED OUT: Ohio Dominican (Jones).