Local Sports from The Courier
Sunday, January 13, 2013GLIAC Men's Basketball: UF falls 57-55 to Tiffin
Silence enveloped the University of Findlay men's basketball team locker room Saturday afternoon.
Every player sat in a chair in front of his locker wearing a blank stare, their eyes focused on nothing but space and the disappointment of their lackluster performance in a 57-55 loss to Tiffin at Croy Gymnasium.
No words can describe the pain of losing a game to a rival in a building where losses are rare -- the Oilers had an 81-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference home win streak that dates back to 2004 broken.
"It hurts, especially at home and being a senior," Jack Smith said. "I feel like I'm never supposed to lose to Tiffin, home or on the road. It's just embarrassing."
Upstairs, the door to the office of head coach Charlie Ernst was closed. The second-year coach sat by himself looking over the stat sheet.
"This one definitely ranks right up there," Ernst said. "I don't know where I would put it, but it hurts. I'm at a loss for words."
Even with shooting 22.2 percent (14 of 63) from the field and even with the Dragons scoring 16 fast break points, the Oilers (10-4, 7-3 GLIAC) nearly won, turning up the defensive pressure down the stretch.
Sean Samsel was guarded tightly and found Smith wide open up top and he buried a trey, cutting the Tiffin lead to 55-53 with 23.2 seconds remaining.
But time ran out.
Of course, missed shots were the story of the day, including in the first half when the Oilers shot a very poor 13.3 percent (4 of 30).
It was those early struggles that doomed Findlay, which missed its first 12 shots as Tiffin (6-9, 3-7) surged in front 16-6.
Aaron Robinson's 3-pointer ended the drought before Smith's trey sliced the Dragons' advantage to 18-15.
Findlay went into halftime down 30-22, but it wasn't so much the poor shooting that hurt the Oilers as it was their desire to match the intensity and effort of the Dragons, who held a 47-45 edge on the boards, scored 38 points in the paint and made all of the hustle plays the Oilers usually capitalize on.
"Our team today, in my opinion, lacked passion, lacked energy," Ernst said. "Give Tiffin credit. They had tremendous passion and hunger. I know they were embarrassed by their loss to Hillsdale and they came out and put it to us."
The Oilers had two players in double figures -- Robinson and Greg Kahlig with 10 points apiece. Robinson limited Tiffin's best player, Joe Graessle, to 13 points on 5 of 16 shooting while Kahlig pulled down nine rebounds.
Cody Dennison paced the Dragons with 14 points and Mike Boan added 11.
"It wasn't really anything they were doing. It was more on us," Robinson said. "We have to be motivated, and today, everyone feels like they didn't come out with a sense of urgency to blow them out like we should have."
The Oilers played more inspired in the second half.
Fans came to life and Tiffin burned a time-out after Brad Piehl drained a wide-open 3-pointer with 12:18 to play to tie the score at 34-34.
Tiffin didn't flinch, though, displaying remarkable poise as it attacked the basket to fuel an 11-0 run. Graessle's layup off a steal gave the Dragons a 45-34 lead with 9:04 to play.
Although Findlay, which trailed 50-38 with less than five minutes to play, rallied one more time, Tiffin's run swung the momentum.
"That was the game," Ernst said. "They scored on layups and we took quick shots. I was disappointed."
The Oilers didn't help their cause by going 6 of 32 from beyond the arc, settling far too often for the 3-point shot.
The Oilers will try to bounce back in a 5:30 p.m. Thursday contest at rival Ashland. The Eagles (4-9, 2-8) lost 73-65 to Malone on Saturday.
Findlay goes in with a one-game lead over Hillsdale in the South Division and is tied for third overall in the conference standings.
On Ernst's desk Saturday was the GLIAC tourney championship Findlay won last season.
"We know how good we can be when we all play up to our potential," Robinson said. "With the goals we have in mind, we have to play like a top team every night, regardless of the opponent."
tiffin (6-9, 3-7)
Sutherin 4-4 0-1 8, Roby 0-3 3-6 3, Boan 5-7 1-4 11, Dennison 5-15 3-4 14, Graessle 5-16 3-3 13, Rage 0-0 0-0 0, Bouley 2-4 0-0 4, Bendolph 0-0 0-0 0, McCormick 1-3 2-5 4. TOTALS: 22-52 12-23--57.
findlay (10-4, 7-3)
Heagen 3-11 2-4 9, Kahlig 3-11 4-4 10, Piehl 3-12 2-3 9, Samsel 1-9, Robinson 2-9, Brown 0-0 0-2 0, Baity 0-2 2-2 2, Smith 2-4 4-4 9, Kaufman 0-3 1-2 1, Frilling 0-2 2-4 2. TOTALS: 14-63 21-30--55.
HALFTIME: Tiffin, 30-22.
3-Point GOALS: Tiffin 1-8 (Dennison 1-4, Graessle 0-3, Roby 0-1); Findlay 6-32 (Robinson 2-7, Heagen 1-6, Samsel 1-6, Piehl 1-4, Smith 1-2, Baity 0-1, Kahlig 0-4).
rebounds: Tiffin 47 (Roby 12, Sutherin 10); Findlay 45 (Heagen 12, Kahlig 9, Piehl 8). ASSISTS: Tiffin 10 (Graessle 5); Findlay 8 (Samsel, Baity & Smith 2). STEALS: Tiffin 6 (Boan & Graessle 2); Findlay 9 (Kahlig & Piehl 2). BLOCKS: Tiffin 3 (Boan 2); Findlay 0.
TURNOVERS: Tiffin 15, Findlay 9. TOTAL FOULS: Tiffin 22, Findlay 17. FOULED OUT: Tiffin, Bouley.
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