By ANDY WOLF
The University of Findlay men’s basketball team is rolling.
In its path Tuesday night was Cedarville University.
The No. 15-ranked Oilers dominated the Yellow Jackets at both ends of the court to produce an 84-56 Great Midwest Athletic Conference victory at Croy Gymnasium.
“We just came in focused, prepared,” senior point guard Austin Gardner said. “We realized the regular season is coming to an end. A lot of guys paid attention to the scouting report detail. It really showed out on the floor.”
Findlay (23-3, 17-1 GMAC), which never trailed, needed only four minutes to get all five starters into the scoring column.
One by one, each accounted for a one of their first five buckets for a quick 13-7 lead.
The Oilers rode a 42-32 edge into halftime while shooting remarkably better from 3-point range (8 of 15) than inside the arc (8 of 21).
As most teams defend UF in a man, Cedarville (11-13, 6-11) threw a zone at the Oilers.
“I thought their zone gave us some problems in the first half, it slowed us down,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “We looked a little bit uncertain at times and we missed some cookies inside.”
Martyce Kimbrough scored 11 of his UF-high 14 points in the first half, including two 3-pointers in the final 3 minutes after Cedarville pulled within 34-29.
His first ended a 4-minute scoreless drought for the Oilers.
The last splashed in with five seconds to go.
The momentum carried right over into the second half.
Kahlig assisted Gardner on a transition bucket and drove for one himself on the next possession.
The spurt prompted Cedarville coach Pat Estepp to call timeout just 47 seconds in.
“We just want to get to the first four minutes, the media timeout, and win it,” said Gardner who finished with nine points and four assists. “We got off to a quick start, made them burn a timeout and that’s exactly what we wanted them to do.”
While Cedarville’s Colton Linkous drained a 3-pointer out of the timeout, the Oilers scored the next seven points.
Gardner pulled up for a jumper to start it, followed by Sullivan scoring on a spin move in the paint and Alex White finishing a three-point play off an offensive rebound.
UF coach Charlie Ernst cited White taking two charges in the opening minutes of the second half is what deterred Cedarville from attacking the rim.
“If that were a stat that was kept, I think he’d be leading the league in charges taken,” Ernst said of White.
Sullivan (11 points) was the only other UF player to score in double figures.
He returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury and coming of the bench the previous game.
Kahlig added nine points while White had seven points and eight rebounds, four offensive.
Meanwhile, Cedarville’s Conner TenHove scored 17 points including his team’s first seven.
Collectively, the Yellow Jackets made 29 percent from 3-point range, just the second of eight opposing GMAC teams to make under 40 percent at Croy this season.
“We were probably fortunate they missed some open threes,” Ernst said. “Probably for them to beat us without Patrck Bain (21.7 ppg) on our home floor, they were going to have to shoot the ball extremely well.”
Bain, their leading scorer, suffered a season-ending knee injury four games ago.
UF’s bench doubled the scoring production of Cedarville’s 32-15.
Tommy Schmock and Brady Wildermuth each netted eight points.
Wildermuth, a true freshman, had yet to score more than four in a GMAC game.
He also grabbed four rebounds and a steal in 8 minutes.
“Brady’s going to be a very good player in this program, I’m convinced,” Ernst said. “I wanted to give him some playing time because he’s earned it in practice.”
The Oilers are back home against Ohio Valley (3-19, 2-14) 6 p.m. Thursday.
Cedarville (11-13, 6-11 GMAC)
TenHove 7-15 2-2 17, Okoro 1-4 1-2 3, Linkous 3-8 0- 9, Kraatz 2-6 0-0 5, Zawadzki 3-13 0-0 7, Parker 0-3 0-0 0, Matticks 2-7 0-2 4, Blackburn 0-0 0-0 0, Morlan 2-7 0-0 6, Portillo 2-2 0-1 5, Leist 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22-66 3-7 — 56.
Findlay (23-3, 17-1 GMAC)
Sullivan 5-10 0-0 11, White 3-6 1-1 7, Gardner 3-5 22 9, Kimbrough 6-11 0-0 16, Kahlig 4-10 0-0 9, Smith 2-5 0-0 5, Schmock 3-6 2-2 8, Masterlasco 1-2 0-0 2, Wildermuth 3-3 2-2 8, M. Ashley 1-4 2-2 5, Overhiser 1-3 2-2 4, Linder 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 32-66 11-11 — 84.
3-Point GOALS: Cedarville 9-31 (Linkous 3-6, Morlan 2-7, Portillo 1-1, Kraatz 1-2, TenHove 1-4, Zawadzki 1-6, Matticks 0-2, Parker 0-3); Findlay 9-25 (Kimbrough 4-7, M. Ashley 1-2, Gardner 1-2, Sullivan 1-2, Smith 1-3, Kahlig 1-5, Linder 0-1, Schmock 0-1, White 0-2).
rebounds: Cedarville 35 (TenHove 8); Findlay 45 (White 8, Sullivan & Kimbrough 5).
ASSISTS: Cedarville 12 (Linkous 3); Findlay 14 (Gardner & Kahlig 4).
STEALS: Cedarville 7 (TenHove & Zawadzki 3); Findlay 9 (Sullivan 2).
BLOCKS: Cedarville 1 (Parker); Findlay 2 (Smith & Masterlasco).
TURNOVERS: Cedarville 16, Findlay 12.
TOTAL FOULS: Cedarville 11, Findlay 10.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 42-32.
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By ANDY WOLF