The Cedarville men’s basketball team won its second game of the year in a thriller against Ohio Christian, 70-69.
This game came down to the wire. With the score tied at 65, senior Jason Cuffee hit a three with 59 seconds left. The Trailblazers answered with a three from Trailblazers point guard Evin Bartlett. Freshman Patrick Bain then stormed down the lane and finished a tough layup to put the Jackets up, 70-68, with 27 seconds left.
But the game did not end there. In a scuffle for the ball, sophomore Easton Bazzoli slammed the ball on the ground, drawing a technical foul. Fortunately, the Trailblazers only made one of the two free throws. Down 70-69 with four seconds left, Ohio Christian threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer, but it fell short.
Jason Cuffee led the way for the Jackets with 23 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal. He was a blistering 9-12 from the field and did not miss from behind the arc, hitting five threes.
“At the end of the game we put our foot down, and decided to make stops,” he said. “It wasn’t a pretty win, but we’re always happy this season to get wins at home.”
In the first half, Ohio Christian maintained a slight 15-10 lead with 11 minutes to go. Then Cedarville pushed forward with an important 11-0 run to take the lead 21-15. The Jackets went into the half up 36-26.
Cedarville started the second half strong with eight quick points from Easton Bazzoli, including a monster dunk which brought the crowd to its feet. After being taken out of the starting lineup, Bazzoli had a strong night, finishing with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Bain finished the game with seven points, three rebounds, two assists, and a block.
Ohio Christian would not go down easily. They were lead down the stretch by power forward Donovyn Benson, whose 19 point, eight rebound effort paced the Trailblazers.
In this non-conference matchup, Cedarville head coach Pat Estepp said he thought his team played “a little flat,” but he said he has been pleased with his team’s energy.
“Because we are a pressing team, we need to communicate more on defense,” he said. “I thought tonight we had couple guys do that for us well down the stretch; guys like Bazzoli and Cuffee and center Dave Dinnie had some of their best games in a Cedarville uniform. They weren’t afraid to get into each other’s face and let it be known what had to be done to win the game.”
Cedarville is now 2-6, but more importantly, it is 1-0 with Jason Cuffee’s new facial hair addition. On a career shooting night, the senior forward donned an imposing mustache.
When asked about Cuffee’s new look, Estepp said, “As long as he keeps playing like that he can keep it.”
Dave Guidone is a junior social studies education major and sports reporter for Cedars. His hobbies include eating, snacking, shooting hoops and laughing. Hebrews 13:8.