UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The No. 7-ranked Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team competed in its final GLIAC matchup of the 2016 calendar year on Monday night against the Ohio Dominican Panthers. The Cardinal bench outscored ODU 27-13 and managed to slow down the Panthers' strong second half performance to come away with the 76-69 win, the team's tenth of the season.
SVSU's first points came from Garrett Hall, who made an open jumper and a free throw that put the Cardinals ahead 3-2 at the 16:57 mark of the first half. The Panthers quickly took the lead off a corner three until C.J. Turnage scored off an offensive rebound to tie the game at 5-5. ODU would keep the Cardinals in check, keeping their deficit to five points following a three pointer from Jake Daniels.
Ohio Dominican chipped away at the SVSU lead and tied the game at 14-14 with 11:23 remaining in the half. The Panthers would never regain the upper hand in the contest after this point. Wade Gelhaus scored on a nice play down low following the media stoppage and a Mike Wells three-pointed extended the Cardinal lead to 20-14. The Cardinals stayed persistent in the paint, converting on two layups from Wells and Garner and a long ball from Hall that gave SVSU's its first double-digit lead of the half, 27-17, with 6:37 to go in the half.
The Panthers would make two baskets before the final media timeout and cut SVSU's upper hand to six. ODU worked the score to 27-24 following a three-pointer at the 3:38 mark of the first half. SVSU responded with a three-point play from Devin Dixon and a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left sent the Cardinals into halftime with a 34-28 advantage over Ohio Dominican.
ODU began with the basketball to start the second half and scored on its first possession. The Cardinals would score on the following drive with a basket from Turnage and made a pair of free throws from Caleb Davis. The Panthers worked the score to 38-34 SVSU advantage at the 16:57 mark before the home team began pulling away with the game.
The Cardinals exited the under-15 media timeout with a make from the line stemming from a Wells basket that counted after drawing the foul. Davis would bury another pair of free throws before Wells knocks down a three with four seconds left on the shot clock, giving SVSU the 49-39 lead with 11:55 remaining. Wells would convert on another three to put Saginaw Valley ahead 52-43, forcing the Panthers to use a timeout.
Davis' tip-in following the timeout gave SVSU an 11-pt edge once again. The lead hovered at 10 points for the next six minutes of play as the Cardinals continued to stay in the game with excellent shooting from the line. Saginaw Valley entered the final media timeout with a 66-56 lead and 4:34 left to play.
Garner's free throws exiting the stoppage pushed SVSU's lead to 12. The Panthers would respond with an 8-0 run before a made jump shot by Turnage thwarted any attempt of a comeback by ODU. SVSU would score its final six points of the game from the free throw line to grab the 76-69 victory in the final meeting as GLIAC foes with the Panthers.
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