Sullivan’s 28 Leads Oilers Past Hillsdale
By Kevin Schrock
The University of Findlay Oilers came out on fire Thursday night against Hillsdale College. Five minutes into the game Croy Gymnasium was rocking because everything was falling for Findlay against the team that knocked them off less than a month ago. The 19-6 lead they jumped out to early on was built up to 23 points in the second half. The Chargers made their run but Findlay staved off the comeback and behind a career high 28 points from Taren Sullivan, they got their revenge on the Chargers.
It was the Sullivan show early and often in this contest. The senior scored 14 points before missing a shot. He finished with 16 first half points while Tyler Stern-Tucker and Martyce Kimbrough each contributed eight points to the 44-25 lead.
“Once a couple shots went in early I just kind of got it in my head that their was no one on the court that was going to stop me,” said Sullivan. “Everybody on the team was just backing me up and taking smart shots.”
It was five minutes into the second half when every Oiler fans heart dropped. An already injury plagued team watched Katwan Singleton take a charge and come up hobbled. He would be forced to exit the game and would not return.
“I’ve been on our guys all year about how we’ve taken very few charges as a team,” said Findlay coach Charlie Ernst. “We finally got one and a player gets hurt.”
Trey Smith continued to eat up minutes off of the bench for the Oilers and came up with a key sequence of plays for his team. With the Findlay lead down to nine points with six minutes to play, he buried a three and followed it up with a steal and layup for five quick points.
The Chargers worked the lead back down to eight points with two minutes to play but chose to start the fouling game. Smith, Sullivan and Elijah Kahlig combined to can every one of those next six free throws and the Oilers closed the game out on Hillsdale.
“I knew they would make a run at us,” said Ernst. “We withstood it and made free throws when we needed to and got a good win.”
With the conference tournament now in their sights, every win becomes increasingly important. Still, this one may have meant even more than the rest for the Oilers.
“We definitely wanted to get them back for the last game,” said Sullivan. “We had a little bit of edge on us for this one.”
To go along with his 28 points, Sullivan filled out the stat sheet with nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. All were team highs.
“I challenged him the last couple days pretty hard on his defense and I think he responded just like superstars do,” said Ernst. “He’s a guy that wants to be coached and improve on his weaknesses and tonight he didn’t really show a weakness.”
With the win the Oilers improve to 17-5 on the year and 11-4 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. They hold a two game lead in the south division and are tied for second overall.
Their next contest will come Thursday, Feb. 9 when they travel to Ohio Dominican University for a 7:30 p.m. tip off.