Graessle takes over GLIAC scoring mark in TU win

The win belongs to Tiffin, but the night belonged to Joe Graessle.

Graessle became the all-time career scorer in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s games.

His 24 points give him a total of 1,559 in GLIAC contests, topping the mark of 1,549 set by Ferris State’s Justin Keenan.

He also tallied eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“He was definitely on tonight. He moved the ball well, though, too. He was passing it. He got his other teammates involved first … so it made his shots a little easier than it’s been in some games,” TU coach Jerry Buccilla said.

“What a special night for Joe. Becoming the all-time GLIAC scorer is quite an accomplishment,” Buccilla said. “First and foremost, he wanted the win, but it was a special night for Graessle and the Tiffin program.”

Graessle took over the top spot with a layup at the 4:35 mark of the first half, staking the Dragons (10-15, 6-14 GLIAC) to a 33-17 lead.

Tiffin pushed the advantage to 40-22 by halftime and never led by less than 15 after that.

Khaleal McCormick added 17 points for TU and Mike Boan had 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Mike Brown dished five assists, Ashton Khan handed out four assists and Korab Imami hauled in seven boards.

The team committed only eight turnovers while handing out 20 assists.

“I thought, top to bottom, I thought this was our best team effort. Even though Joe and Khaleal got their averages, … everybody came off the bench and the other starters contributed, too,” Buccilla said.

“It was kind of fun to watch,” he said.

Don Kellum scored 12 points for the Panthers (5-20, 3-18), Mark Minch netted 10 points and Trent Weaver had eight points and 14 rebounds.

TU women can’t keep momentum going

It’s not from a lack of effort, coach Pam Oswald said.

She saw plenty of effort as Tiffin rallied back from a double-digit deficit late in the first half, eventually taking a lead about eight minutes into the second period.

But building off that momentum proved fleeting, a common occurrence this year, and Ohio Dominican’s much better night of shooting just added to the challenge in what became an 86-77 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss by TU.

“It’s been a work in progress all year. It’s one of the things we struggle with. We went up by 1 (52-51) but couldn’t build on it. Just finding that breakthrough, being able to grow back on that has been a challenge,” Oswald said after her Dragons fell to 7-18, 4-17 in the GLIAC.

“Ohio Dominican shot very well tonight,” she said. “We just haven’t been able to put the ball in the bucket ourselves.”

Tiffin finished only 26 for 74 (35.1 percent) from the field, while Ohio Dominican hit 56.1 percent of its shots, going 32 for 57.

The hot shooting helped the Panthers build a 36-25 lead with 1:56 left in the first half, but Kaylee Patton’s 3-pointer with 13 seconds left for TU capped a short rally to cut the deficit to 36-31 by the end of the period.

The Dragons kept rallying from there, eventually taking a 52-51 lead on Katie Miller’s jumper with 11:57 to play.

But Kacee Hockenberry countered at the other end 12 seconds later and the Panthers never trailed again, pushing the lead to as many as 13 points (76-63) before closing out the win.

Hockenberry’s 20 points for the Panthers (12-14, 9-13) led everyone, and Melissa Sherpenberg chipped in 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Kayla Cook (12), Tori Beth Leader (11) and Micaela Liddane (10) combined for another 33 points.

Tiffin got 17 points and 13 boards from Bre Nauman. Jordan Fraley had 13 points and four steals and Jillian Adams tallied 12 points and seven rebounds.

“I definitely feel our players are playing hard. I think it’s just our process,” Oswald said. “A lot of players are getting experience, but one thing you can’t rush is the maturity level – being able to shake it off and move on to the next thing.”

“I think they’re pressing at times,” she said, “they’re trying to make something happen for us and they’re rushed.”