December 2, 2009

Valiant effort carries Wolverines to OT win

GROVE CITY, Pa. -- The Grove City College men's basketball team gained an early share of first place in the Presidents' Athletic Conference Wednesday night by pulling out a 98-93 overtime win over visiting Thomas More in the PAC opener at the Grove City College Arena.

Senior center Andy O'Keefe (Perry, Ohio/Perry) poured in a career-high 25 points for Grove City (3-2, 1-0 PAC) on 9-of-11 shooting. In all, four Wolverines scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Brett Matson (Wexford, Pa./Pine-Richland) fired in 19 points while sophomore forward Drew Vandermeer (Clarion, Pa./Clarion) added 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

Junior forward Luke Tomaselli (Cresson, Pa./Penn Cambria) contributed 17 points, along with a team-high eight rebounds.

Grove City led 69-54 with 8:47 left in regulation before Thomas More charged back with a 21-6 run. Daniel Neeley's layup tied the game at 75 with 3:50 left in the second half. The Saints eventually took an 80-77 lead but Grove City tied the game at 81 as Matson hit two free throws with 45 seconds left.

Grove City forced a shot clock violation on Thomas More's final possession of regulation but Matson's potential game-winning jumper at the end of regulation fell short.

In overtime, Grove City bolted to a 91-81 lead as O'Keefe and Vandermeer both scored four points during the 10-0 run. Thomas More trimmed the lead to 91-90 with 1:49 left as Johnny Bovard drilled a three-point goal. Bovard's basket proved to be the Saints' final field goal of the game as Matson and O'Keefe both hit a pair of free throws down the stretch in overtime to seal the win. 

Grove City jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first half before Thomas More rallied to take a 15-12 lead midway through the period. Senior guard Andrew DiDonato (Bridgeville, Pa./South Fayette) gave the Wolverines a 44-36 halftime lead by hitting a three-pointer with four seconds left in the half.

Grove City shot 50 percent (34 of 68) from the field. Thomas More shot 28 for 63 (44 percent), including a 3-for-9 effort in overtime. Aaron Miller led Thomas More with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Thomas More out-rebounded Grove City 45-34. The Saints had 24 turnovers while Grove City committed 23 miscues.

Tomaselli added five assists and five steals while Matson and O'Keefe each had six assists. Vandermeer blocked three shots.

The game featured 60 total fouls, including 31 against Grove City. Thomas More (4-2, 0-1 PAC) went 30 for 45 at the foul line while Grove City made 25 of 33 free throw attempts.

Thomas More won both of last year's meetings with Grove City en route to the PAC title. Grove City leads the all-time series 8-2.

Grove City will visit conference rival Washington & Jefferson Saturday at 2 p.m.

Box Score

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