By Kevin Schrock
Two more home games, and like clockwork, they are two more wins for The University of Findlay Men’s Basketball team. On Thursday, Jan. 21, the Oilers took on Ashland University in a game that would decide the number one spot in the south division, and after winning that game 71-63 they took care of business Saturday as well against Lake Erie College, defeating the Storm 78-69.
It was Martyce Kimbrough leading the charge against Ashland, putting up a game-high 22 points and three assists. Senior Dylan Kaufman was also instrumental in the win recording his second career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
On Saturday things weren’t as easy for the Oilers. Lake Erie, who had knocked off the Oilers at home a year ago, came in with a less than impressive 4-7 record in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. However, the Storm came into Croy and did what no teams have been able to do this year. They knocked the Oilers in the teeth right out of the gate and took a lead into halftime.
“They kind of had us back on our heels at the start,” said Findlay coach Charlie Ernst. “I think we were fortunate to only be down seven at halftime as well as they shot the ball.”
Lake Erie put up an incredible 7-14 mark from behind the mark while turning in a 14-28 mark overall from the field.
The Oilers weren’t doing bad themselves, shooting 14-29, but a mere trio of three pointers were the difference in the 39-32 halftime score.
Thankfully the Storm shooters cooled off in the second half and slowly but surely the Oilers clawed their way back into the game.
“It’s little things like in the first half their defense was in front of their bench,” said Ernst. “In the second half it’s your offense that’s in front of you and I think that’s part of the reason they weren’t as effective on defense in the second half.”
However, there may not have been a defense in division two that was going to stop Taren Sullivan in the second half. Sullivan went off for 19 points in the 20-minute period, including a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line.
“It takes special guys to step up and take shots when the game is in the balance,” said Ernst. “If there’s one thing about our team its that we have a lot of guys who have made those shots in the last three weeks.”
With five minutes to go, the game was tied up at 61. At that point the Oilers put distance between themselves and the Storm quickly. They went on a 14-3 run in the next four minutes and just like that they had closed the door on Lake Erie. Sullivan put the exclamation mark on the win when he slammed home a transition dunk and completed the three-point play by drawing a foul in the process.
With the 78-69 win the Oilers improved to 12-5 and 9-3 in the conference. They also improved their home record to 9-0.