UC Clermont 87, Grove City 82
UC Clermont uses outstanding three-point shooting to knock off Grove City, 87-82
December 29, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The University of Cincinnati Clermont men's basketball team pulled out an exciting victory over Grove City in the opening game of the McDonald's of Bluffton Holiday Tournament on Friday, December 29, 2006. Despite falling behind 51-41 at the 15:48 mark, the Cougars turned the game around with a 38-17 spurt over a span of 12 minutes to take a 79-68 lead with just under four minutes on the clock. With the 87-82 victory over the Wolverines, UC Clermont improved to 10-8 and will play host Bluffton University on Saturday, December 30, at 3 p.m. Grove City dropped to 3-6 following the opening round loss.
Down 51-41 early in the second half, the Cougars found their range and Grove City went cold from the field. Jeff Hicks hit from downtown and the floodgates opened up for Clermont. The Cougars John Stone and Jeff Kinney combined for seven trifectas in 10 minutes to seemingly put the game on ice, however, four Clermont turnovers allowed Grove City to close the gap to two points, 84-82, following a Mark Smith three-pointer with 42 seconds on the clock. Three free throws in the final 11 seconds by the Cougars sealed the 87-82 victory for UC Clermont.
UC Clermont open the contest much like it finished, nailing three triples in the opening minutes to take a 14-9 lead at the 16:08 mark of the opening stanza.
Grove City decided to take a page from Clermont's playbook and the Wolverines answered back with four three-pointers of their own to open up a seven-point margin, 25-18, following a Ryan Gerber triple midway through the first half.
Sensing that the middle was open, the Cougars began to look to their advantage in the post late in the half. Brad Hosler converted an old-fashioned three-point play and Maurice Brown scored four straight points to put Clermont up 33-31 with 5:26 on the clock.
Following a Trevor Donald jumper that gave the Cougars a 37-35 advantage, the Wolverines rattled off the next seven points, including a Mark Smith three-pointer, to take a 42-37 lead at the break.
Grove City picked up where it left off to open the second half, grabbing a 51-41 margin at the 16-minute mark, thanks to five points from Gerber, before the wheels fell off and Clermont took control of the game.
The Cougars placed four individuals in double digits, including Jeff Kinney, who led Clermont with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting from outside the arc. John Stone hit three triples on his way to 20 points and Maurice Brown, who led the Cougars on the glass with six boards, finished with 18. He was 7-of-9 from the field, dished out three assists and swatted away two Grove City offerings. Brad Hosler chipped in with 10 points.
Ryan Gibson led three Wolverines who reached double-digits with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. He also dished out a game-high eight assists and picked up three steals in the loss. Mark Smith finished with 13 points while Ryan Gerber tallied 10. Craig Hallman led Grove City on the glass with six rebounds.
Both teams shot well from the field with the Wolverines knocking down 30-of-51 attempts for 59 percent. Clermont and Grove City each hit 11 triples, but the Cougars won the game at the line, hitting 18-of-22 free throws while the Wolverines converted on only 11-of-24 freebies.
Grove City will play in the consolation game on Saturday, Dec. 30, against the Wright State-Lake Campus Lakers at 1 p.m. UC Clermont moves into the championship game against host Bluffton University at 3 p.m. in Founders Hall.