DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College men's basketball team tipped off the 2017-18 campaign with an easy 103-77 victory over the Ohio Mid-Western College Rams at the Karl H. Weaner Center on Wednesday night.
Defiance was led in scoring by senior Jonathan Ragland (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy), who poured in 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor and 4-of-10 from beyond the arc. Freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) added 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, while fellow freshman Demoines Whitney (Detroit, Mich./Western) added 15 points and five boards.
Leading the DC bench unit was freshman Avion Franklin (Toledo/Whitmer) with 10 points and three steals. Junior transfer Jovon Thomasaon (Port Huron, Mich.) stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, a team-high six rebounds, three swipes, and two assists for Defiance, as well. Newcomer Davontae Kinnie (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Northside) sparked the Yellow Jacket offense with nine assists to go along with his nine points and three steals for DC.
As a team, the Yellow Jackets shot 43-of-85 (50.6 percent) from the floor and 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) from deep. The Rams, meanwhile, shot 27-of-58 (46.6 percent) from the floor. The Yellow Jackets held a decisive, 46-32, edge on the glass while committing six less turnovers than Ohio Mid-Western (20-14).
The Rams opened the contest with an early 5-3 lead before Ragland hit a jumper to start a 7-0 DC run and give DC a 10-5 lead. The Yellow Jackets grew the lead to 15-9, then rallied for 11 consecutive points to take a 26-9 edge midway through the opening half. Ohio Mid-Western cut the lead as low as 10 points at the 7:51 mark, but got the lead back to as many as 18 markers on a layup by Graham late in the half as Defiance led 45-29 at the halftime break.
DC scored nine of the first 11 points of the second stanza, with four of the five starters scoring in the opening 3:08 to give Defiance a 54-31 advantage. With the lead at 65-39 at the 13:08 mark, a triple by Franklin was followed by a pair of buckets by junior Randall Aikins Jr. (Detroit/Plymouth) sandwiched between jumpers from Ragland and Kinnie that jolted the advantage to a game-high 34 points at 73-39. The Yellow Jackets cruised from there to a 103-77 opening night win.
The Yellow Jackets will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 18, as they make the trip to Olivet, Mich. for a battle with the Olivet College Comets. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.