Cedarville men’s basketball coach Pat Estepp said he wasn’t happy with his team’s focus and energy Saturday night, as the team lost its first game of the season, 60-75, against Ashland in their second game of the Callan Classic.
Less than 24 hours removed from scoring 90 points in their first game of the season, the Yellow Jackets struggled to get going in the first half, scoring only 21 points and headed into the half down 15.
“We really weren’t locked in and ready to play at the beginning of the game for some reason,” Estepp said. “It was a combination of a lot of things. We probably missed seven or eight layups in the first half alone, maybe more, and that that caused their defense to expand because they weren’t worried about us finishing.”
The second half didn’t start much better for the Yellow Jackets. Ashland quickly expanded their lead to 20 and maintained it for the first ten minutes. Cedarville then cut the lead to 11 with an 11-2 run, led by six points from freshman Patrick Bain. The Yellow Jackets could never cut the lead to single digits, though, and Ashland slowly built their lead back up as high as 18 before the end of the game.
Easton Bazzoli had 12 points and five rebounds for the Yellow Jackets. Marcus Reineke also had 12 points to go along with three assists, and Bain added a career-high 11 points.
Missed free throws continued to be a problem for the Yellow Jackets. They were 23 of 32 from the stripe after going 14 of 29 on Friday night.
“Free throws are so mental,” Estepp said. “This team is too good of a shooting team to miss that many free throws, so we’ve got to get to the free throw line a lot in practice, get their confidence up.”
Cedarville had only 14 assists to go along with 24 turnovers compared to Friday night’s 21 assists with 13 turnovers. The Jackets were also a mere two of 12 from behind the arc. Estepp said that this, along with a lack of focus, was the biggest problem for the team tonight.
“We’re not going to win games where we’ve got five assists and shoot 16 threes,” he said. “This team’s got to shoot 25-30 threes and we need 20 assists in games and we just didn’t get that. The biggest thing tonight we told them was, ‘we didn’t have focus.’ It takes consistency, and we didn’t have that. We were relying on all the emotional things instead of just saying, ‘let’s go to work and get this done.’”
The Yellow Jackets were without guard J.C. Faubion tonight after he suffered an ankle injury in Friday night’s game against Ohio Dominican.
“That was a huge loss for us in a lot of ways,” Estepp said. “He creates a lot of things on the floor and is the big energy guy. We’re hoping he’ll be back Tuesday, maybe next Saturday. I don’t think it’s going to be a long time.”
Cedarville (1-1) goes on the road this week for games at Findlay and Grand Valley State before returning home on Tuesday, Nov. 25 for a home contest against Hillsdale. That game will tip off at 7:45 pm. The women’s basketball team has their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 2:00 p.m. against Mount Vernon Nazarene. They also play Nov. 25 before the men, a 5:30 p.m. tip off against Ferris State.
Tyler Greenwood is a sophomore mechanical engineering major and a sports reporter for Cedars.