By BRIAN LESTER
CANTON — Alphonso Baity had no intentions of letting history repeat itself.
He remembers what happened to the University of Findlay men’s basketball team a year ago against Malone on the road.
No way was he about to leave town with a loss to the Pioneers again.
So he just started shooting.
A 3-pointer, moments after the opening tip, a floater in the lane, a hard take to the basket for a layup.
Just like that, the sophomore point guard was feeling confident, and so were the Oilers, who rolled to an 84-63 win over the Pioneers Saturday afternoon at Osborne Hall.
A year ago, the Oilers lacked that level of effort against MU and fell 77-69.
But on the heels of a crushing 81-61 loss at home to Walsh on Thursday night, UF had all the motivation it needed to steal an important Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road win.
“We were just trying to get on top,” said Baity, who lit up the Pioneers for 21 points. “They were at home, they had a big crowd and needed to create our own intensity. We didn’t forget about last year. We came in here sleep-walking and they beat us up.”
It was the Oilers (14-4, 10-4 GLIAC) throwing the punches this time, and they were wide awake from start to finish, shooting a blistering 56 percent (28 of 50) from the field and clamping down on defense as they scored 20 points off 14 turnovers.
“I didn’t say too much to the guys after the Walsh loss,” UF head coach Charlie Ernst said. “I was more concerned that Walsh didn’t beat us today. We had to turn the page quickly and our guys did a great job of that. Our play reflects it. Our guys are winners. They have a lot of pride and a lot of fight in them.”
Baity helped lead the charge.
His layup with 14:40 to play in the first half gave the Oilers a 12-5 lead and a layup with four minutes remaining helped catapult the Oilers to a 37-30 lead at halftime.
Baity was 6 of 9 from the floor, 7 of 8 from the free-throw line, and added five rebounds, two blocks and two steals to his stat line.
“When you hit a shot, and then another one, you get going and you feel comfortable,” Baity said. “I kept shooting, but my teammates did a good job of finding me for good shots.”
Still, putting away the Pioneers wasn’t easy.
Isiah Elliott, who scored 16 points on the day, hit a 3-pointer to open the second half and several big shots by Cory Veldhuizen (19 points) kept MU within striking distance. His layup with 14:10 to go cut the UF lead to 49-42.
Greg Kahlig, who torched the Pioneers for 22 points on the strength of four 3-pointers, drilled back-to-back treys to help UF maintain its grip on the momentum.
Sean Samsel’s long-distance shot extended the Oilers’ advantage to 58-44 with 11:11 remaining in the game.
The Oilers hit 11 treys, including six in the second half, the last coming off the hand of Dylan Kaufman with just more than five minutes left as he nailed a shot from the corner.
“Those shots were big for us,” said Kahlig, who now has 1,528 points and is tied for 12th with Nate Hyde on the all-time UF scoring list. “We got a lot of big 3-pointers from a lot of guys. We took the heart out of them defensively.”
The Oilers held MU to 40.4 percent (23 of 57) shooting and the only other player in double figures for the Pioneers was Che Richardson (10 points).
UF tightened up on defense late, holding the Pioneers to one field goal in the final 5:28. MU found it tough to get good looks and often didn’t take a shot until late in the shot clock.
“We mixed our defenses up. We didn’t just give them one look,” Ernst said. “We had good possessions in our zones and they didn’t have an answer.”
The Oilers had an answer for everything as four players scored in double figures.
Jake Heagen finished with 15 points, including two on a one-hand jam that put UF in front 76-59.
The Oilers, a half game behind Walsh for first place in the South Division, now turn their attention to Hillsdale (13-5, 9-5) for an 8 p.m. game tonight at Croy Gymnasium.
“It’s another big game,” Kahlig said. “We’ve had some battles the last couple of years and we have to come out with effort and intensity. It all starts on defense for us.”
FINDLAY (13-4, 9-4 GLIAC)
Heagen 6-1–15, Kahlig 6-6–22, Frilling 3-1–7, Baity 6-7–21, Kaufman 5-2–14, Gardner 0-0–0, Samsel 1-0–3, Smith 0-0–0, Staley 1-0–2, Stern-Tucker 0-0–0, Jones 0-0–0. TOTALS: 28-50 17-21 — 84.
MALONE (9-8, 7-6 GLIAC)
Richardson 3-1–10, Elliot 6-1–16, Graves 1-0–2, Veldhuizen 8-1–19, Stone 3-0–6, Miller 0-0–0, Bapst 0-1–1, O’Daniel III 0-0–0, Kazmierczak 1-0–3, Gingerich 0-0–0, Wise 1-4–6. TOTALS: 23-57 8-14 — 63.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 11-23 (Kahlig 4, Heagen, Baity & Kaufman 2, Samsel); Malone 9-24 (Richardson & Elliot 3, Veldhuizen 2, Kazmierczak).
rebounds: Findlay 29 (Heagen 6); Malone 34 (Veldhuizen 9).
ASSISTS: Findlay 20 (Kahlig 7); Malone 8 (Elliot 3).
STEALS: Findlay 7 (Kaufman 3); Malone 5 (Veldhuizen 3)
BLOCKS: Findlay 6 (Frilling & Baity 2); Malone 2 (Elliot & Stone).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 8; Malone 14.
TOTAL FOULS: Findlay 15; Malone 19.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 37-30
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