By BRIAN LESTER
COLUMBUS — Winning a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division championship is always the first goal of the University of Findlay men’s basketball team.
The Oilers made their first step toward that goal an impressive one, playing with energy and being effective on both ends of the floor en route to a dominating 87-62 win over Ohio Dominican Thursday night at Alumni Hall in Columbus.
UF established itself as the dominant team early, surging out to a 47-21 lead at halftime, and then kept the pressure on throughout the second half, never giving the Panthers a chance to grasp a glimmer of hope for a comeback in the division opener for both teams.
“We came out with a lot of energy, and that is important on the road, especially against a team that has been very competitive in most of its games,” UF head coach Charlie Ernst said. “We played well together, did a great job on defense and I thought we were very unselfish.”
The Panthers came in on a seven-game losing streak, but four of those losses were by five points or less. They never had a chance to keep it close against the Oilers.
After falling behind 4-0, UF began to take control on a 3-pointer and thunderous dunk by Jake Heagen.
Heagen would thrown down two more dunks in the opening half, the second putting the Oilers in front 23-13 near the mid-way point.
Heagen scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Oilers (10-3, 6-3 GLIAC), who won their third consecutive game.
Ernst said the ability of Heagen to energize the Oilers with a flurry of dunks was a credit to the teamwork UF put on display against ODU (3-10, 1-8) as UF tallied 22 assists.
“It was a combination of great defense and unselfish play,” Ernst said. “We forced them into some quick shots and were able to make some plays in transition.”
The Oilers allowed only six points in the final 10 minutes of action and buried the Panthers in the second half with an aggressive offensive and defensive effort.
Greg Kahlig played a big part in putting the finishing touches on this road win. His 3-pointer with 16:37 to go gave the Oilers a 58-28 lead and he followed with a layup that made the score 60-30. Kahlig poured in 25 points, his 12th double-digit game of the year, and moved into 17th all-time on the school scoring list with 1,431 points.
Mark Frilling scored six of his eight points in the second half as he attacked the basket for layups. He also pulled down six rebounds. Dylan Kaufman clicked for 13 points and Alphonso Baity finished with 10 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Oilers shot shot 48.5 percent (32-of-66) from the field and had only 11 turnovers.
“The second half was our captain’s half. It was on the shoulders of Greg, Mark and Jake to help put this away. They did a great job and the win gives us momentum going into our game against Tiffin on Saturday.”
ODU shot 33.8 percent (25-of-74) from the floor. Trent Weaver and Reece Dils scored 10 points apiece. The Panthers were out-rebounded 31-24 and turned the ball over 16 times.
UF now turns its attention to Tiffin in a rivalry that has heated up in recent years. The Oilers take on the Dragons (6-8, 2-7) at 3 p.m. at the Gilmor Center in Tiffin.
“It’s never easy playing over there, and that is a credit to their fans and to their players,” Ernst said. “They will be juiced up to play us, and we have to be able to match their intensity and execute our game plan.”
FINDLAY (10-3, 6-3 GLIAC)
Heagen 5-9 0-0 11, Kahlig 8-15 7-8 25, Frilling 4-7 0-0 8, Baity 5-6 0-0 10, Kaufman 4-7 3-4 13, Gardner 1-2 0-0 3, Samsel 1-3 0-0 3, Smith 1-4 0-1 2, Staley 2-5 4-4 8, Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0, Stern-Tucker 0-3 1-2 1, Jones 1-4 1-3 3, Kohls 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 32-66 16-22–87.
OHIO DOMINICAN (3-10, 1-8)
Kellum 3-11 2-2 8, Weaver 4-12 2-4 10, Minch 3-8 1-2 7, Nelson 3-7 0-0 7, Leach 0-7 0-0 0, Dils 4-7 0-0 10, Stennis 1-5 0-0 3, Carr 3-9 0-2 7, Ward 3-5 0-0 7, Cowgill 1-3 1-6 3. TOTALS: 25-74 6-16–62.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 47-21.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 7-17 (Kahlig & Kaufman 2, heagen, Gardner & Samsel); Ohio Dominican 6-23 (Dils 2, Nelson, Stennis & Carr).
rebounds: Ohio Dominican 47 (Cowgill 8); Findlay 44 (Heagen 7).
ASSISTS: Findlay 22 (Kahlig, Baity & Samsel 4); Ohio Dominican 14 (Minch 4).
STEALS: Findlay 8, Ohio Dominican 7.
BLOCKS: Ohio Dominican 5, Findlay 4.
TURNOVERS: Ohio Dominican 16, Findlay 11.
TOTAL FOULS: Ohio Dominican 15, Findlay 13.
FOULED OUT: None.
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