Ohio Dominican was impressed but not broken by Brayboy Gym’s reputation.
The Panthers overcame an 18-point deficit to beat J.C. Smith 86-82 Saturday in a nonconference game that was their first visit to the venerable arena. Although the Golden Bulls (0-1) were on the verge of blowing Ohio Dominican out, the Panthers (1-0) stormed to the front by outscoring J.C. Smith 47-28 in the second half.
We just tried to relax,” Panthers coach Dan Evans said. “We’re not from here (but) we knew about the gym and knew about the intensity and noise. Our kids haven’t been in this environment. Even though it wasn’t super crowded, it was really loud.”
J.C. Smith was on the verge of running Ohio Dominican out of Brayboy with a 54-39 halftime advantage by connecting on 55.6 percent of their shots. The backcourt of Christian Kirchman and Robert Davis combined for 27 points while the Golden Bulls dominated with a 14-4 edge in second-chance points.
“We’re a work in progress, without a doubt,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Joyner said. “We came out very, very good in the first half, we had a game plan and scored a bunch of points by sharing the basketball. In the second half, we ran out of gas.”
After falling behind by eight points late, the Golden Bulls had a chance to force overtime with their final possession. Trailing 85-82 with 11.2 seconds left, a pair of three-point shots went awry and Ohio Dominican claimed possession.
Three who mattered
Robert Davis: The J.C. Smith guard led all scorers with 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting and six assists.
Ronnie Williams: Ohio Dominican guard paced the Panthers with 19 points.
Sam Hickey: Backup guard came off the bench to score 10 second-half points for Ohio Dominican to spark the Panthers’ rally.
▪ J.C. Smith connected on just 34.5 percent of its shots in the second half compared to Ohio Dominican’s 56.7.
▪ The Golden Bulls lost their season opener for the third straight year.
▪ Five Panthers scored double-digits and their bench outscored J.C. Smith’s 22-12.