By ANDY WOLF
Joey Edmonds’ confidence is always high — even as a freshman point guard.
It was evident in his dagger on Saturday.
Edmonds capped his first career start by stepping into a 3-pointer without hesitation to help the University of Findlay men’s basketball team put away No. 21 Walsh University 91-86 in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play at Niekamp Arena.
“I put in the work; I belong out there,” Edmonds said. “My confidence is through the roof.
“(That 3) was a result of all the work I put in. All these guys put in, total team effort.”
Edmonds finished with eight points, six rebounds and a steal for the Oilers (14-6, 9-2 GMAC), who moved into a tie for first in the GMAC with the Cavaliers (18-3, 9-2).
Hillsdale (13-7, 9-2) is also tied for first in conference play.
UF starting point guard Tommy Schmock came off the bench after dislocating his shoulder in Thursday’s win over Malone.
UF coach Charlie Ernst and Schmock made a joint decision regarding the start after Schmock decided on Saturday he felt well enough to play.
“He wanted to see how the game was going to play out,” Ernst said of Schmock.
Schmock still played a team-high 28 minutes, scoring seven points and dishing out nine assists with three steals.
Edmonds logged 20 minutes.
“Tommy is our engine,” Edmonds said. “I try to carry on in my start what he brings every day. Tom still came in, he produces. He doesn’t have to score to control the game.”
The duo were both on the court late in crunch time with UF leading 85-82 just under the final minute.
As the shot clock wound down, Schmock kicked out from the paint to a closely-guarded Edmonds at the top of the key.
Edmonds swished it in to erupt the home crowd.
“Tom threw it to me, (I) looked at the shot clock and it said 6 or 5 (seconds) so I just made a move, got to my spot and shot,” Edmonds said.
The Cavaliers never cut it to one score the rest of the way and the Oilers got their redemption.
One Saturday prior, Walsh outlasted Findlay in the final five minutes for an 81-72 win in North Canton.
The same scenario played out in round two, just with the Oilers trailing most of the first half, only to come back in the second. The Cavaliers totaled 26 minutes with the lead.
Junior guard Tre’Maine Gray (10 points) stepped up for six straight points, all on attacking the rim, to put UF ahead 73-70 at the 6-minute mark.
“He recognized, and sometimes we don’t always do this, that Walsh was getting tired,” Ernst said, “(and) his quickness and the fact he only played 19 minutes could be an X-factor.
“It wasn’t just his offense. I thought he was a factor on defense.”
Walsh’s J.T. Shumate scored a game-high 22 points, including a contested 3-pointer on the possession before Edmonds’ big 3.
Reece Bogan added 17 points with five 3s off the bench while Christian Montague had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Nathan Bruns fronted the Oilers with 19 points.
Chazz George supplied 13 points and three 3s off UF’s bench. Aaron Overhiser and Anthony Masterlasco (Liberty-Benton) had 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Walsh was playing without two key seniors in forward Sterling Christy and guard Alphonso Baity. Christy had missed the last six games and Baity tore his ACL late in Walsh’s win over Findlay after a 19-point effort.
“Much respect to Walsh; they’re very good,” Ernst said. “They’ve overcome the loss of a couple players to still be really good.
“I tip my hat to them first and then I tip my hat to our own team, second.”
Ernst had a feeling his team’s depth was better — four Walsh starters played 30-plus minutes — and wanted to wear down the Cavaliers.
“We got a lot more buckets at the rim than I’ve seen them give up all year,” Ernst said. “I think that was fatigue.”
No. 21 WALSH (18-3, 9-2 GMAC)
Canter 4-5 1-2 9, Shumate 8-12 4-6 22, Montague 6-13 2-2 16, Straughter 5-10 1-1 12, Mokros 3-5 0-0 8, Wess 1-5 0-0 2, Bogan 6-8 0-0 17, Kostelac 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 33-58 8-11 86.
FINDLAY (14-6, 9-2 GMAC)
Masterlasco 4-8 1-1 10, Bruns 6-9 6-7 19, Overhiser 4-6 3-7 12, Edmonds 3-5 1-1 8, Linder 1-6 3-4 6, Schmock 3-8 0-0 7, George 5-10 0-0 13, Emrick 3-4 0-1 6, Gray 4-7 1-2 10, Wildermuth 0-0 0-0 0, Stover 0-0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 33-63 15-25 91.
3-Point GOALS: Walsh 12-27 (Shumate 2-5, Montague 2-4, Straughter 1-5, Mokros 2-3, Wess 0-4, Bogan 5-6); Findlay 10-28 (Masterlasco 1-3, Bruns 1-2, Overhiser 1-2, Edmonds 1-3, Linder 1-2, Schmock 1-6, George 3-6, Gray 1-4).
rebounds: Walsh 31 (Canter 8); Findlay 32 (Edmonds 6).
ASSISTS: Walsh 21 (Montague 7); Findlay 18 (Schmock 9).
STEALS: Walsh 3 (Shumate, Wess & Bogan); Findlay 10 (Bruns, Schmock & George 3).
BLOCKS: Walsh 1 (Shumate); Findlay 4 (Bruns 2).
TURNOVERS: Walsh 15; Findlay 12.
TOTAL FOULS: Walsh 20; Findlay 18.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Walsh, 51-42.