Withrow leads OUS comeback

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

Special to the Tribune

COAL GROVE - In true competitor's fashion, Derek Withrow scored 36 points and hit 10 of 15 3-pointers, yet the first thing he discussed was his 0-for-3 performance from the free throw line.

Withrow's effort led Ohio University Southern (12-10) to a 91-70 victory over Miami-Hamilton Saturday afternoon at Coal Grove High School. Withrow hit his first four 3-point attempts and five of his first six. In the second half, Withrow was 5-for-6 beyond the arc.

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"They were just giving it to me," Withrow said of the Harriers' defense. "They were leaving me open. I figured after the first couple they might come out and guard me more, but they didn't."

Fifteen of the Trailblazers' first 20 points came via Withrow's 3-pointers as Ohio Southern built a six-point lead. The Blazers extended the lead to 37-27 with 6:04 left in the first half before Miami-Hamilton (13-13) rallied. The Harriers trimmed the lead to 37-35 before Gene Cotton scored five straight points to boost the lead back to seven points. Miami, though, scored the final 10 points of the half to take a 45-42 advantage to the locker room.

Ohio Southern had a chance to regain the lead before intermission, but Withrow missed three straight free throws after being fouled during a 3-point attempt.

"Maybe I need to take a couple of steps back from the free throw line," Withrow joked.

Withrow opened the second half with a 3-pointer to tie it. Miami's Derek Solomon hit a free throw to give the Harriers a 46-45 lead, then Zack Mullins scored to give Ohio Southern a 47-46 advantage. The Blazers never trailed again.

"I don't think Derek can play any better," Ohio Southern coach Ron Reed said. "I thought Aaron Pennington played well and Rickie McDonie played strong."

Ohio Southern slowly built the lead again against the bigger, more-experienced Harriers, yet didn't begin to pull away to a comfortable lead until late in the game. Miami was within 65-63 with 8:39 to play, but the Blazers turned consecutive charging fouls against Miami into baskets to take a 73-63 lead with 5:27 left.

Ohio Southern built the lead to as large as 23 points in the final 1:17, outscoring Miami 20-7 in he final 6 minutes.

"Our guys just went out and gave a great effort," said Reed, whose team in riding a five-game winning streak.

"I'm as pleased as I can be with the way we played. I've never been prouder of a team."

Reed said in more than 30 years of coaching he never had a player hit 10 3-point shots in a game. Withrow, who missed his career scoring high by one point, never had hit 10 in a game at any level.

"It just started clicking," said Withrow, who also had four steals, three rebounds and two blocked shots.

Gene Cotton scored 20 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for Ohio Southern. Pennington and Zack Mullins scored 10 points apiece as the Blazers hit 36 of 72 shots, including 13 of 26 3-pointers.

Jamil Muhammed led Miami with 15 points. Mick Shannon scored 10 points.

Miami-Hamilton (70)

Hill 1-5 0-2 1-2 3, Whitehead 2-4 0-1 2-4 6, Wyrick 4-7 1-4 0-0 9, Edmonson 3-7 1-1 0-0 7, Shannon 3-7 0-2 4-4 10, Vernon 4-10 0-0 1-2 9, Solomon 4-5 0-1 1-2 9, Muhammed 7-11 0-0 1-1 15, Davenport 1-1 0-0 0-0 2. Totals: 29-57 2-11 10-15 70.

Ohio Southern (91)

Withrow 13-19 10-15 0-3 36, Patten 3-9 1-4 0-0 7, Hudson 0-4 0-2 0-0 0, Fields 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Cotton 8-20 2-5 4-4 20, Ballard 1-1 0-0 0-0 2, Pennington 4-8 0-0 2-2 10, McDonie 2-3 0-0 0-0 4, Z. Mullins 5-8 0-0 0-0 10.

Halftime: Miami Hamilton 45, Ohio Southern 42. Rebounds: MH 33 (Muhammed 9), OUS 32 (Cotton 10). Team rebounds: MH 5, OUS 4. Deadball rebounds: MH 2, OUS 3. Blocked shots: MH 4 (Muhammed 2), OUS 3 (Withrow 2). Steals: 7 (Whitehead 3), OUS 7 (Withrow 4). Turnovers: MH 20, OUS 13. Fouls: MH 12, OUS 12. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: None.