By BRIAN LESTER
Just when you think Greg Kahlig is all out of dazzling performances, when you think the senior University of Findlay forward can’t do anything more to turn heads, he finds a way to do it again.
Kahlig was in a zone Saturday afternoon in a semifinal showdown against Walsh University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
He scored 55 points, a GLIAC record, and knocked down a school-record 10 3-pointers, as he led the Oilers to a 104-74 win over the Cavaliers at Croy Gymnasium.
Kahlig was modest in the wake of an impressive performance. It’s his third game of 40 points or more this year and the first 50-point game by an Oiler since Randy Kortokrax scored 54 against Thomas More (Ky.) in 1987.
“You can never dream of having a game like this. It’s special and unreal,” Kahlig said. “But it’s a testament to my teammates for putting me in a position to score. They did a great job. We played well as a team.”
Kahlig didn’t score 55 points on Sunday, but he did earn MVP honors of the tournament. He scored 22 points to pace UF in a 69-63 win over Michigan Tech in the championship game, helping the Oilers punch their ticket to the NCAA Division II tournament.
Kahlig wasn’t concerned about the award. He was more concerned about helping his team leap over one more hurdle and accomplish one more goal. Never mind that he set a tournament record for points as he scored 93 over three games, eclipsing the record of 84 held by former UF star Nathan Hyde.
“Points don’t matter when you win like this,” Kahlig said. “Winning this championship was one of our goals, and we are so glad to finally accomplish it. Hopefully, we can take this momentum into the national tournament.”
Kahlig was 19 of 28 from the field overall and 10 of 17 from beyond the arc against Walsh. He hit eight treys in the first half and had 36 points by halftime as UF led 62-37.
UF head coach Charlie Ernst is running out of things to talk about when it comes to Kahlig, the GLIAC Player of the Year and one of the nation’s most lethal scoring threats (24.7 points per game).
The third-year coach of the Oilers joked that he might have to start asking former UF head coach Ron Niekamp what he used to say about all-time leading scorer Kortokrax.
“I am out of adjectives,” Ernst said. “I need to get coach Niekamp up here and ask him what he used for Kortokrax and steal those. Greg was phenomenal. It seems like the bigger the game, the better he plays.”
Kahlig broke several tourney records. He set tourney records for most field goals (31), most field goals attempted (53) and most 3-pointers attempted (30). He tied Hyde’s record for 3-pointers made (15).
Junior forward Jake Heagen and sophomore guard Dylan Kaufman also earned all-tourney honors. Heagen scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the title game and Kaufman finished with 9 points and 4 assists against Tech.
“Greg didn’t score 55 (Sunday), but he can impact the game in other ways. We all can,” Heagen said. “Its going take great team efforts from here on out to win in the NCAA tournament. We feel confident going into it.”
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