ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Tournament Most Valuable Player John DiBartolomeo scored 20 of his game high 24 points in the second half as the University of Rochester defeated Ohio Wesleyan University, 83-68, to win the UR/Holiday Inn Airport Thanksgiving Invitational at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
He had plenty of help. Four teammates scored 10 or more. Tyler Seidman scored 13 points. Rob Reid scored 12. Nate Vernon and Tyler Sankes scored 10 apiece. The Yellowjackets shot 55% from the floor for the game (30 of 55), 50% outside the arc (10 of 20) and 93% from the line (13-14). Rochester is 5-0.
This was the first loss of the season for Ohio Wesleyan (3-1). The Battling Bishops won the Marietta Shrine Tournament last week and defeated Otterbein College in the first round of the HIA Invitational on Saturday. Claude Gray led OWU with 18 points, hitting eight of nine from the floor, including both of his three-point attempts. Anjuwon Spence and Reuel Rogers scored 10 apiece.
DiBartolomeo was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammate Reid, Rogers and Vaughan Spaulding of OWU, Zach Bakenhaster of Otterbein, and Jared Jeffres of SUNY Cobleskill. Otterbein defeated Cobleskill, 94-75, in the third place game.
Rochester built an early 10-point lead, 15-5, in the first seven minutes. OWU drew within five when Gray and Spence hit back to back three-pointers (22-17 with less than 10 minutes left). Seidman hit a trey for Rochester and Reid followed with a layup to restore the lead to 10, 27-17, with 8:06 left. It was 37-24 at halftime.
DiBartolomeo scored 10 points in the first 8:33 of the second half, giving Rochester its largest lead, 61-35. With the Yellowjackets still ahead by 26 (65-39 with 9:39 left), the Battling Bishops fought back. Gray scored five points in a 12-1 run over three minutes that cut the deficit to 15, 66-51. Seidman made a layup and DiBartolomeo scored on a tip-in as Rochester held off OWU. DiBartolomeo sank six free throws in less than two minutes and Rochester held an 81-63 lead with 1:33 left.
In the pre-season poll conducted by D3hoops.com, Ohio Wesleyan is ranked No. 22. Rochester is among others receiving votes.