By ANDY WOLF
The No. 14-ranked University of Findlay men’s basketball team got down by 15 points in 15 minutes Thursday night.
The Oilers made it all back twice as fast.
They outscored Cedarville 54-37 in the second half to post an 81-68 Great Midwest Athletic Conference victory at Croy Gymnasium.
“What a great atmosphere in a huge game, crummy weather outside; cold,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “Maybe people had cabin fever and said ‘You know what? Let’s go watch the Oilers tonight.’
“Our fans were into it. Our students were loud and proud. So that was a big part of that comeback.
“No. 2, (it was) the sense of urgency we played with at the end of the first half.”
Findlay improved to 17-3 overall, 11-2 in the GMAC and avenged its first loss of the season at Cedarville (12-9, 9-4) on Dec. 1.
UF’s Alex White put in game-highs of 19 points and nine rebounds — 16 points in the second half to help complete the comeback.
Tommy Schmock totaled 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals for the Oilers.
Anthony Masterlasco (Liberty-Benton) added 10 points and dealt out five assists.
“Cedarville is a really good team,” Masterlasco said. “We didn’t come out the hottest. We had a good motivational halftime talk and took it to them in the second half.”
Conner TenHove’s 16 points led Cedarville. Grant Zawadzki had 15 points and seven assists.
The Oilers buried themselves early into a 31-16 deficit in the first 15 minutes.
Cedarville got stuck on 31 the rest of first half plus four minutes into the second half.
But Findlay came to life and closed the half on a 11-0 run, including Chazz George’s two-handed fast-break dunk in the final minute and two free throws by Ethan Linder at the end.
A 31-27 halftime deficit didn’t seem as daunting anymore.
“That definitely gave us momentum to come out hot and we took it to them,” Masterlasco said.
Findlay flipped the scrip quickly in large part to big second-half performance by White and Masterlasco.
Masterlasco assisted White twice in the opening minutes off drives into the paint to tie it at 31-31.
“I love playing with our big guys,” Masterlasco said. “One thing I do when I drive is looking to pass the ball.
“Whitey is one of the best post players in the league. Any opportunity I’m going to have I’m going to try to find him.”
White scored eight of UF’s first 10 points in the half to put the Oilers up 37-33.
Masterlasco tacked on a bucket and White threw down a one-handed dunk to end a 14-2 start to the half.
Ernst noticed the big difference in how Masterlasco got comfortable in Cedarville’s zone defense.
“I’m not sure why that is,” Ernst said. “We got some stops and got the ball to him in transition and he had some of their bigs closing out on him on the wing and he was able to drive by them; he’s got a very quick first step.”
Findlay never trailed from there and led by double figures in the final 10 minutes.
The game shifted into the hands of Schmock, UF’s sophomore point guard who took over and caused havoc at both ends.
Schmock scored once off a turnover, got to the line twice and buried a clutch 3-pointer in a 2-minute span. He also had four steals defensively.
“Tommy is a coach’s dream from the standpoint of there’s no one in the GMAC that plays with any more heart than he does,” Ernst said.
Ironically, it was Schmock, a 27.3-percent shooter from behind the arc, who hit two of Findlay three 3-pointers in 20 attempts.
The Oilers missed their first 16 3-point attempts until George broke the drought with 7:52 to go. George totaled 12 points and nine rebounds, four offensive, off the bench.
The Yellow Jackets weren’t much better at 6 of 22 from 3-point range.
CEDARVILLE (12-9, 9-4 GMAC)
TenHove 5-14 4-4–16, Van Horn 6-8 1-3–13, Maughmer 5-13 0-0–11, Linkouos 0-2-0-0–0, Zawadzki 6-11, 1-2–15, Parker 0-2, 0-0–0, Speelman 0-3 0-0–0, Okoro 3-3 0-0–6, Green 2-5 2-2–7. TOTALS: 27-61 8-11–68.
FINDLAY (17-3, 11-2 GMAC)
Masterlasco 4-7 2-4–10, Overhiser 5-7 3-4–13, White 7-14 5-7–19, Smith 0-8 0-0–0, Schmock 5-12 4-7–16, George 4-9 3-4–12, Linder 1-6 3-3–5, Stover 2-3 2-2–6. TOTALS: 28-66 22-31.
3-Point GOALS: Cedarville 6-22 (TenHove 2-5, Zawadzki 2-4, Maughmer 1-3, Green 1-3, Parker 0-2, Speelman 0-3, Linkhouse 0-2); Findlay 3-20 (Schmock 2-7, George 1-2, Overhiser 0-1, Smith 0-5, White 0-3, Linder 0-2).
rebounds: Cedarville 37 (Van Horn 9m, Maughmer 8); Findlay 40 (White & George 9).
ASSISTS: Cedarville 11 (Zawadzki 7); Findlay 12 (Masterlasco 5).
STEALS: Cedarville 4 TenHove, Van Horn, Maughmer & Okoro 1); Findlay 11 (Schmock 4, White, George & Linder 2, Overhiser 1).
BLOCKS: Cedarville 2 (Van Horn 2); Findlay 1 (Schmock 1).
TURNOVERS: Cedarville 14; Findlay 9.
TOTAL FOULS: Cedarville 22; Findlay 15.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Cedarville, 31-27.