By Kevin Schrock
On Tuesday night, the Oilers kicked off their 2014-2015 season on a high note with a home opener against the Cedarville Yellow Jackets, defeating Cedarville 96-77.
Coming into this 2014-2015 campaign, some might have been wondering how the Findlay men’s basketball team might do this year. Not only did they lose their first team all-American Greg Kahlig to graduation, they also lost both of their point guards in the off season.
After their home opener, a lot of those questions were already answered. The Oilers made pretty clear that scoring wasn’t going to be a problem. They put up 96 points against a strong Cedarville team that played a full court press defense the whole game.
Point guards Ricardo Smith and Nick Ruthsatz also did a good job handling the pressure the Yellow Jackets applied, getting 22 fast break points out of the press.
“I thought our point guards did a good job against a quick aggressive team,” said head coach Charlie Ernst.
he Yellow Jackets took the lead 5-4 before an early 11-0 run by the Oilers set the tone for the game. During the run, junior Dylan Kaufman rattled off seven straight points and John Staley capped it off with a dunk.
Findlay did it on both ends of the court though to keep Cedarville from putting together any kind of run. They forced 15 turnovers, and had 11 steals on the defensive end and forced a lot of missed shots.
By halftime the Oilers were feeling comfortable holding a 54-39 lead. They were shooting 51 percent from the field compared to Cedarville’s 33 percent.
Things wouldn’t get much better for Cedarville either. Eight minutes into the second half, Findlay had stretched their lead all the way out to 21 points at 68-47. It was apparent that the youthful Oiler squad wasn’t going to let up against their in region opponent.
The final score ended up being 96-77. Findlay finished the game with three freshman and two sophomores on the court.
Kaufman led the way on the offensive end for Findlay. He finished with 20 points, pulled down four rebounds and added a pair of assists. Senior Jake Heagan was right on the tail of Kaufman putting up 19 points while grabbing seven boards and five assists.
“Were going to have to lean on our upper classmen because we don’t have a lot of them,” said Ernst. “I thought for the first game our young guys played well but we do need our upper classmen to be consistent.”
Staley and Tyler Stern-Tucker were also in double figures for the Oilers. Staley put up 18 points while Stern-Tucker scored 16 and grabbed six rebounds. The Oilers were led on the boards by junior Quaran Jones who tallied 11 rebounds.
“I’m happy with every win every year, but anytime you get a 20 point win at home against a division 2 in region opponent you’re happy about it,” said Ernst.
The Oilers will now travel to Kentucky where they will battle Bellarmine University on Sunday at 3 p.m. Their next home game will be December 4.