Local Sports from The Courier
Sunday, January 27, 2013GLIAC Men's Basketball: Oilers turn back Malone, 74-62
Earlier this month, Aaron Robinson suffered through the kind of moment that can leave any player questioning himself.
The University of Findlay senior missed a couple of free throws in a one-point road loss to rival Ashland.
Yet, being the competitor that he is, Robinson wasn't going to let his confidence become shaken.
He proved as much Saturday afternoon against Malone University, drilling a 3-pointer and following it up with a layup, giving the Oilers the breathing room they needed for a 74-62 win over the Pioneers in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference South Division encounter at Croy Gymnasium.
Robinson scored 9 points, but those five with just over five minutes to play, were the biggest as Findlay (13-5, 10-4 GLIAC) maintained its one-game lead in the division and is still third in the overall league standings.
"You just have to move forward after a bad game. It's part of basketball and you have to go out and make the best of the next opportunity," Robinson said. "I'm a confident player and I wanted to do what I could to help the team win today."
His trey put the Oilers in front 63-56 and he scored on an easy layup moments later to stretch the Oilers' advantage to 65-56.
The Pioneers (10-7, 8-6), despite shooting 51.9 percent (27 of 52) from the field, never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Robinson also dished out three assists, tallied two steals and had the daunting task of defending Malone star Isiah Elliott, who came in averaging 19.6 points per outing.
Eliott finished with 21 points, including nine from 3-point range, and dished out four assists.
"He is a great scorer and very tough to guard," Robinson said. "You have to contain him as best as you can and make things as tough as possible on him."
Findlay head coach Charlie Ernst said he made a decision late in the second half to put more pressure on Elliott and make him work hard for everything to wear him down. It paid off as Elliott, shooting over 80 percent from the line, missed four free throws down the stretch.
"We wanted to pick him up full court, face-guard him, deny him, and make him work every inch of the floor to get the ball," Ernst said. "We wore him down. It was a big key, and a great example of that he is a great free throw shooter and he goes 2-of-6 today."
The play of Jake Heagen made a difference as well. The sophomore poured in 13 points and pulled down six rebounds.
His 3-pointer in the opening minutes put the Oilers on top 5-0 and he scored the first four points of the second half, tipping in his own miss and driving through the middle of the lane for a layup that put the Oilers in front 36-31.
"I always try to stay aggressive and come out with a lot of fire," Heagen said. "This was a big game for us. We had to have it."
It is Heagen's intensity and the passion he brings to the floor that provides such a spark.
"Jake is a good scorer and rebounder and is a good second-effort type of player," Ernst said. "He brings a lot of fire to our team. He has natural fire and passion and the scary thing is that he still has a lot of room for improvement."
The Pioneers weren't going to go away without a fight and they challenged the Oilers, never falling behind by more than four points.
Jack Smith made a layup with just over two minutes to go and Brad Piehl's up-and-under move in the lane gave the Oilers a 32-29 lead at halftime.
Even with a lead, the Oilers went into the locker room knowing they still had a lot of work to do. After all, it was last November that the Pioneers came into Croy and stunned Findlay 74-71, snapping the Oilers' 71-game home win streak.
"The loss was in our memory," Heagen said. "It left a sour taste in our mouth. We were ready to play and we were able to get a huge win over a good team."
The Oilers shot 42.6 percent (23 of 54) from the field and got 14 points from Greg Kahlig and 11 out of Smith, who buried a clutch 3-pointer to stretch the UF advantage to 55-47 with 9:20 to go.
Findlay had been in a tight battle earlier in the half, leading just 38-36 before Kahlig and Seasn Samsel nailed treys to ignite a 10-2 run.
While the Oilers did score over 70 on a day when they also held their 10th straight opponent to under 70 points, Ernst said his team can still improve on the offensive end of the floor.
"We struggled at times, and it's hard to put a finger on it because we have so many good offensive players," Ernst said. "Sometimes we look for each other too much, or try to get a little too cute instead of just being aggressive."
Now the Oilers have a week off before facing off against Hillsdale at 1 p.m. Saturday at Jesse Phillips Arena in a key GLIAC tilt. The Chargers (12-6, 8-6) fell 75-73 to Walsh University on Saturday.
MALONE (10-7, 8-6)
Bates 6-8 0-3 12, Veldhulzen 0-6 0-0 0, Richardson 1-3 0-0 2, Lodemeier 1-3 0-0 2, Elliott 8-13 2-6 21, O'Daniel 3-4 0-0 7, Graves 1-4 0-0 3, Kazierczak 5-9 0-0 11, Stone 2-2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 27-52 2-9--62.
Findlay (13-5, 10-4)
Heagen 4-10 4-4 13, Kahlig 3-10 6-10 14, Piehl 3-4 2-3 8, Baity 0-2 1-2 1, Robinson 4-7 0-0 9, Samsel 1-5 0-0 3, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 3-6 4-4 11, Kaufman 2-4 4-4 9, Frilling 2-4 0-0 4. TOTALS: 23-54 21-27--74.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 32-29.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 7-23 (Heagen 1-4, Kahlig 2-5, Piehl 0-1, Robinson 1-3, Samsel 1-5, Smith 1-2, Kaufman 1-2); Malone 6-20 (Veldhulzen 0-3, Richardson 0-1, Lodemeier 0-1, Elliott 3-5, O'Daniel 1-2, Graves 1-4, Kazmierczak 1-4).
rebounds: Findlay 34 (Piehl 7, Kahlig & Heagen 6); Malone 31 (Bates 6). STEALS: Findlay 10 (Kahlig 3); Malone 7. ASSISTS: Findlay 16 (Kahlig 4); Malone 13 (Veldhulzen 6). BLOCKS: Malone 4, Findlay none.
turnovers: Malone 16, Findlay 11. FOULS: Malone 20, Findlay 14. FOULED OUT: Malone, Veldhulzen.
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