On Lil’ Sibs’ Weekend, the Yellow Jackets beat Davis & Elkins, 82-73, in front of a crowd of nearly 1,500 people.
The game started out at a fast pace. Both teams committed early turnovers, but their three-point shots were falling. The Senators grabbed several offensive rebounds and turned those into second-chance points. They also got open looks from behind the arc and cashed in on the opportunities. Seven minutes into the game, they led the Jackets 15-11.
Then Cedarville made their comeback. Head coach Pat Estepp said the defense stepped up and turned the game around.
“I think it was a combination of stops early on that kind of let us pull away,” Estepp said. “They got up early, and we were getting good looks, we were just missing them. I think the press started to get to them in the middle of the second half, and we made our run, and defensively we locked up a little better.”
On a fast break, center Leighton Smith took the pass from Evan Kraatz and threw it down with two hands to put Cedarville up 19-18. This was part of a 19-3 run that found the Jackets leading 33-21. The Senators then went on a 7-0 run to pull within five, but Cedarville pulled away again. A Lane Vander Hulst three-pointer near the end of the first half made the score 43-30.
In the second half, the Jackets stormed out of the gate and the lead ballooned to 17 points. The Senators wouldn’t go away, however, and kept chipping away at the lead, and were within eight points with less than three minutes to go.
From there, the game turned into a back-and-forth free throw battle. The Jackets, who have struggled in that area this season, went 12-14 from the charity stripe and sealed the win, 82-73.
For the game, Cedarville shot 48 percent from the field while holding the Senators to 37 percent. Guard Marcus Reineke had an impressive game, with 32 points on 8-11 shooting, along with seven rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Patrick Bain added 13 points, and center Leighton Smith had 10 points and nine rebounds.
The win moves the Jackets to 9-14 on the season, and 5-4 in conference play. They play their next game on February 12 in Nashville, Tennessee, against Trevecca Nazarene.
Jonathan Gallardo is a junior journalism major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys playing basketball, reading Tolkien and Dr. Seuss, writing fiction and poetry, and listening to Hans Zimmer and August Burns Red.