By ANDY WOLF
COLUMBUS — The University of Findlay men’s basketball team stole a victory from Ohio Dominican in its last trip to Columbus.
The Oilers didn’t need a miracle comeback this time.
UF did use ten steals, six in the second half, to run away from the Panthers and earn a 90-62 Great Midwest Athletic Conference victory Wednesday at Alumni Hall in Columbus.
“That’s a quality, quality win against a good team,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “All of their losses this year have been tight ones. They’ve put the beatdown on a couple really good teams.
“To beat these guys by 28 on their home floor says a lot about our team. (ODU) caught us on a night where we were operating at a high level on both ends of the floor.”
Taren Sullivan scored a game-high 22 points while classmate and fellow 1,000-point scorer Martyce Kimbrough added 20 more.
Findlay improved to 10-2 overall, 5-0 in the GMAC, while ODU dropped to 6-4, 2-2.
A year ago the Oilers trailed 77-67 nearing the 3-minute mark but still came back to win 82-79.
Both teams couldn’t have been more evenly matched in the first half Wednesday night.
Each team made 13 field goals, with ODU hitting one more 3-pointer to lead 35-34 at the break.
The pace of trading buckets continued into the early minutes of the second half.
Then UF caught fire, turning defense into offense. Six different players notched a steal Wednesday night.
Austin Gardner came away with three of those, two in the second half. He ended his well-rounded night with eight points, four assists and two rebounds.
Gardner’s steal at half court early in the second half led to a fast-break one-handed dunk by Sullivan and in turn ignited the Oilers.
Scores on five straight UF possessions turned into a 19-4 run with 14 points from a red-hot Sullivan and five more from Elijah Kahlig.
Sullivan twice spotted up deep from 3-point range at each wing and also turned an offensive rebound into an Kahlig 3-ball.
“Our defense got it going,” Gardner said. “We’ve been playing together for a long time so our chemistry is very good.
“We got out in transition; that’s where we’re at our best. We got that because of our defense.”
The Panthers only managed to claw back with a 7-0 spurt to pull within 72-56.
The Oilers’ defense was too much.
They held ODU leading scorer Ronnie Williams scoreless in the second half.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard averaged 13.7 points per game coming in and 20.2 in his last four games against UF.
Williams got off to a hot start again with four 3-pointers in a 12-point first half but missed all three attempts from downtown in the second half.
Even with hands in their faces, the Panthers collectively lit it up from 3-point range in that period, going 7 of 14. They were just 2 of 12 in the second half,
“We know his game well,” Ernst said of Williams. “He’s a really good shooter, a streaky shooter. He doesn’t need much space.
“One of the things I thought we did was we got pressure, started speeding them up a bit and I think that takes rhythm away from you.”
“Yes we were there on the catch; we’re not going to let 3s beat us,” Gardner said. “Our communication was great. We can switch on people which is nice. Hopefully they’ll start missing shots and we’ll get out and be running again.”
Ernst felt his team had its best game of the season from the point guard position, collectively,
The group of Gardner, Tommy Schmock (14 points) and Trey Smith dished out 11 total assists to just one turnover and totaled six steals.
Gardner and Schmock each finished with a season high in points.
Gardner had only three points in his last five games while Schmock, a true freshman, scored in double figures for the first time. Schmock did most of his damage from downtown, making 3-of-4 3-point attempts.
“Those guys can shoot. They’re just very unselfish players,” Ernst said of his point guards. “They haven’t shot it well but if people continue to leave them open they can step into 3s and they’re going to make a lot of them.”
“Last game teams were playing off me,” Gardner said. “I’ve got to be able to shoot the basketball for us to make a long run and I realize that. Driving is my go-to, being able to drive and kick to other people. Eventually that opens up some gaps and because we have shooters people need to stay attached.”
Liberty-Benton graduate Adam Cytlak, a 6-4 senior guard at ODU, had three points and two assists for the Panthers.
findlay (10-2, 5-0 GMAC)
Sullivan 10-17 0-0 22, Kimbrough 7-13 2-2 20, Schmock 5-6 1-2 14, Gardner 2-3 3-4 9, Overhiser 3-5 1-2 7, Kahlig 2-6 0-0 5, White 2-5 0-0 5, Smith 2-4 0-0 4, C. Linder 1-1 0-0 3, Wildermuth 0-1 2-2 2, Masterlasco 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley 0-2 0-0 0, Garverick 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 34-65 9-12 — 90.
Ohio Dominican (6-4, 2-2 GMAC)
Varence 6-11 3-6 16, Williams 4-9 0-0 12, Waugh 3-11 2-2 10, Hickey 4-9 0-0 8, DeLeon 3-4 0-0 6, Hoyng 2-3 0-0 4, Cytlak 1-2 0-0 3, Casanova 1-1 0-0 3, Brandon 0-2 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 0-1 0, King 0-0 0-0 0, Stevens 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 24-53 5-9 — 62.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 13-30 (Kimbrough 4-8, Schmock 3-4, Sullivan 2-3, C. Linder 1-1, Gardner 1-2, White 1-3, Kahlig 1-4, Smith 0-1, Masterlasco 0-1, Overhiser 0-1, Ashley 0-2); Ohio Dominican 9-26 (Williams 4-9, Waugh 2-6, Casanova 1-1, Varence 1-2, Cytlak 1-2, Hoyng 0-1, Brandon 0-2, Hickey 0-3).
rebounds: Findlay 35 (White 9); Ohio Dominican 28 (Varence 12).
ASSISTS: Findlay 17 (Schmock & Gardner 4); Ohio Dominican 16 (Waugh 6).
STEALS: Findlay 10 (Gardner 3); Ohio Dominican 4 (Waugh 2).
BLOCKS: Findlay 1 (White); Ohio Dominican 3.
TURNOVERS: Findlay 10, Ohio Dominican 19.
TOTAL FOULS: Findlay 14, Ohio Dominican 14.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Ohio Dominican, 35-34.
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