By Kevin Schrock
For 10 straight games The University of Findlay Men’s basketball team has been unbeatable. They knocked off three more teams this week including Monday night’s 76-68 victory over Wayne State at Croy Gymnasium. The win kept their number two spot in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) solidified.
The Oilers got out to an uncharacteristically slow start against the Warriors from Wayne State. Findlay fell behind 21-12 but once they caught fire, they overpowered the Detroit school. It was a strong end to the first half, which included a Martyce Kimbrough three at the buzzer that gave the Oilers a 37-30 lead heading into the half.
“Our energy level was a real concern for me coming into this game,” said UF’s Head Coach Charlie Ernst. “I think our second group came in and kind of got Wayne State out of rhythm on offense and they never really got it back.”
With the Oiler bench getting some much needed stops on the defensive end, it set the stage for the starters to come back in and take the lead. Kimbrough led that charge. He took the Oiler’s final three shots of the half and they all fell through the net from behind the arc. Findlay ended the half on a 14-2 run.
The Oilers never relinquished that lead. Although the Warriors brought the game to within six with eight minutes to play, that would be as close as it would come. Every time Wayne State inched closer the Oilers seemed to come up with another big shot, which has been the story of the year for the team.
“Three-point shooting confidence is not a problem on our team,” added Ernst. “Our team always realizes that we’re always going to have a couple guys who are going to be making shots.”
On Monday though all the Oilers needed was Kimbrough. His 7-10 shooting performance from three-point range paced him to 27 points, two shy of his career high at Findlay, which is 29.
“When he gets it going he’s tough to guard,” said Ernst. “He’s really got a lot to his game on offense and he can also rack up assists because the way he is shooting teams will pay so much attention to him that it should free up some of his teammates.”
With the Oilers’ record now advancing to 15-5 (12-3 GLIAC), they find themselves in a position to possibly overtake Saginaw Valley State University for the number one seed in the tournament. This would potentially mean the Oilers would host the tournament at Croy. Still, the Oilers aren’t going to overlook anything.
“Honestly we haven’t even talked about hosting the tournament and we probably won’t until the last game or two when it’s more in sight,” said Ernst. “There are so many games left to play and we won every game the first time through the south so now everyone is really going to be shooting for us.”
The Oilers have seven more games to play and only two of them will be at home. They traveled to Ohio Dominican on Thursday and will be at home on Saturday to take on Tiffin.