LIMA — The Garage was plenty loud and plenty hot.
It was just the way the University of Northwestern Ohio Racers like it.
The No. 21-ranked Racers posted one of their biggest wins ever with a convincing 95-78 men’s basketball victory over No. 3- ranked Davenport before a packed house Saturday at the Garage.
“This is the biggest home win we’ve had,” UNOH coach Chris Adams said. “We beat Davenport at Davenport last year. But for a home win, and the position that our team is in with the national ranking, I would rank this as the most quality win we’ve had since the return of basketball at UNOH.”
With the victory, the Racers clinched a home game in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
“We’re making history,” UNOH’s Lawrence Jackson said. “I love all the fans that come out and support us. And getting a home game in the tournament is real big for us.”
UNOH, second in the WHAC, is 20-6, 15-3 in the WHAC. The Racers stand one game behind first-place Davenport (22-4, 16-2 WHAC).
Jackson led the Racers with 24 points and was 3 of 6 on 3-pointers. Aaron Cross (Ada) had 18 points and eight rebounds. Point guard Josh Scott (Defiance) had 17 points and 11 assists. Ed Jenkins scored 16 points.
“Josh Scott and Ed Jenkins’ overall efforts were outstanding,’’ Adams said.
UNOH hit 60 percent from the field, including hitting 8 of 15 on 3-pointers.
Scott said the Racers had been pointing for this game since their 71-70 loss at Davenport on Nov. 15.
“This has been on our mind all year,” Scott said. “Now that they came here we were ready to play.”
The Racers ran out to an early lead with help from Jackson’s two 3-pointers to make it 22-17.
“We knew that this was a go-to game and we had to take the fight to them,” Jackson said.
UNOH led 28-24 before ripping off a 14-4 run to close the half with a 42-28 lead.
The defense made several key stops during that period and Jackson and Cross both knocked down 3-pointers to finish off the half.
The defense was led by guard Ziar Anderson, who is playing with a partially torn patella tendon in his knee. He had nine points and held Davenport’s top scorer Dominez Burnett to 17 points, six under his season’s average.
“I felt the chemistry was back again with Ziar Anderson returning to the starting lineup and his effort on Dom Burnett made it very difficult for him,” Adams said. “And Jon Slagle came in and supported him (Anderson) off bench.”
The closest Davenport was able to get in the second half was 10 points, 81-71, with 2:03 to go.
UNOH outrebounded Davenport, 35-26.
“We wanted to win and show that we were one of the top in the league and one of the top in the nation,” Scott said. “We want to make the nationals.”
UNOH contained the Davenport starting lineup.
However, it was the Davenport bench’s 3-point shooting which was the Racers’ downfall.
Davenport’s Shaina Johnson scored 23 points, with five 3-pointers, and Alex Law had 17 points, with five 3-pointers, to lead No. 2-ranked Davenport to the victory over UNOH.
Davenport ended up hitting 10 of 26 on 3-pointers, with all the threes coming off the bench.
In fact, Davenport only produced a total of five points from its starting lineup. UNOH held Davenport’s leading scorer, 6-foot-3 Daina Grazulis (16.6 average) to two points.
“They are a very good 3-point shooting team,” UNOH coach Kyle Menchhofer said. “And you pick your poison. Do you give up a three or do you give up their post play?”
Natalie Billing (Anna) led the Racers with 16 points. Madison Coldren had seven points and nine rebounds. Sammi Dervisevic (Shawnee) had seven points and seven boards.
Davenport is 24-0, 17-0 in the WHAC. UNOH, which has already clinched a spot in the WHAC tournament, is 12-14, 10-8.
Davenport won the boards, 40-36.
Davenport led 38-33, but eventually wore down the Racers with its 13-player rotation.
UNOH got as close as 46-41 with 10:20 to go, but Davenport used a 10-0 run to pull away at 56-41 with 8:15 to go. Law hit back-to-back threes to cap the run.
“I’m proud of our kids for their effort,” Menchhofer said.