by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets won their third game in four days on Monday night, defeating the Northwood Timberwolves 61-57 in a nonconference affair. Head coach Pat Estepp said the slugfest wasn’t pretty, but that the team did a great job of battling through the game.
“We beat a really good team when we weren’t shooting well,” Estepp said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our defense. We held their best player to 0-3 from the field.”
Patrick Bain reached his third game with 20 or more points this season, piling in 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Colton Linkous added 11 points on 3-4 shooting from behind the arc.
Bain has played in 82 minutes since Friday night, including 34 in each of the past two games. He said fatigue set in during this game.
“I was a little tired,” Bain said. “Three games in four days is challenging, but coach just told me to keep pushing. I had to overcome that mentally.”
Bain scored the first six points of the game to propel Cedarville to a 6-0 lead within the first three minutes, all of which came in the paint.
A layup by senior guard Evan Kraatz gave Cedarville a 12-7 lead with 13:18 left. The Timberwolves scored five unanswered to tie the game after Kraatz’ made shot.
The teams slugged it out for the next six minutes, as the game was never separated by more than two points. That trend ended when Northwood netted a triple with 4:32 left. The shot put the Timberwolves up 22-19.
Bain was doubled off a screen which freed up junior forward Robert Okoro. Off the roll, Bain dished a pocket pass to Okoro and Okoro slammed the ball with his left hand. The play tied the game at 25 with 1:39 left.
The Yellow Jacket defenders lost a Northwood defender with less than five seconds left in the half. The shot allowed the Timberwolves to take a 29-27 lead into the half. Patrick Bain led all scorers in the half with 10 points, while Okoro added eight points and four rebounds.
Cedarville opened the second half scorching hot. The Yellow Jackets scored 10 straight to take a 37-29 lead with 17:09 left. Linkous poured in two triples during the stretch.
“If you want to win college basketball games, you better finish a half well or start a half well,” Estepp said. “We talked about ball movement and we did a much better job and Colton ended up open.”
Northwood cut Cedarville’s lead after scoring five straight points, and the Yellow Jackets led 49-46 with 7:52 left.
The run continued as Northwood tied the game by banking in a 3-pointer. With 5:39 left, the score was 51-51.
Bain sank a 3-pointer and junior guard Kwenton Scott followed with a corner triple that put the Yellow Jackets up 57-53. Scott was fouled on the shot and made the free throw after to put Cedarville up 58-53 with 4:24 remaining.
With 31 seconds left, Linkous banked in a trifecta to give Cedarville a 61-57 advantage. Cedarville held on from there after forcing two misses on the defensive end.
“We did just enough to keep the lead,” Estepp said. “When you can keep sustaining yourself with your defense, it biys you time to make a play on offense.”
Forward Gabe Portillo left the game in the first half after falling awkwardly by the baseline. Estepp said he most likely suffered an ankle sprain, but that they won’t know the severity of it until tomorrow.
The Yellow Jackets get a full week off and play Ohio Christian at home on Nov. 28 at 7:45 p.m. Cedarville took care of OCU last season, winning 70-61.
Tim Miller is a sophomore marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee and striving to be the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.