By Kevin Schrock
The University of Findlay’s men’s basketball squad won eight out of their last nine regular season match-ups and seemingly hit their stride going into the GLIAC tournament. They earned the number five seed in the postseason tournament and were matched up against number four seed, Saginaw Valley State University. The Oilers lost to the Cardinals, but it didn’t take away from a great season.
The Findlay men started out a little rough early on in the year. They opened up 2-6 and 1-5 in their first six conference match-ups. The blame for the slow start could maybe be based on the youth that the Oilers were playing with. Findlay started two different freshman and two sophomores at different points in the year. It took some time for them to put a starting squad together, but they ultimately all found their places.
After the slow start, the Oilers won every other game for the whole month of January. At the end of the month they were sitting at 6-8. At 6-8 they were not in a good position to make the conference tournament. However, that was before their great month of February. A 7-1 record through February earned them the five seed in the tournament.
Findlay stuck with the Cardinals at 13-13 through the first part of the game but finished the first half trailing 39-26. Late in the game, though, they got themselves back in it. John Staley nailed a jumper to pull the Oilers to within four at 58-54, but the Cardinals ended up winning 69-62.
After winning the tournament the last three years, losing in the first round may come as a disappointment to some. However, after losing All-American Greg Kahlig last spring and this year losing point guards Alphonso Baity and Austin Gardner, the Oilers were dealt a tough hand. They did a great job meshing with the older and younger members of the team and put together a great run at the end of the season that will hopefully give them some momentum going into next year.
Senior Jake Heagan was named first team all conference after an impressive season. He averaged a team high 15.5 points per game and also averaged a team high 5.7 rebounds per game. Heagan was just behind Ricardo Smith’s assists per game number of 2.7 at 2.4. They were top two on the team in that category.
John Staley was the lone Oiler selected to the GLIAC all-defensive team. Staley, known for his hustle during games can often be seen diving for a loose ball averaged 0.8 steals a game and 0.3 blocks per game. He also had an average of nine points per game.
The Oilers had a tough job filling the shoes of their GLIAC championship team of a year ago, but they did a great job this year and will look to build off the season with a great core of starters returning.