by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets upset the Lake Superior State Lakers on Saturday evening, 83-78, to close out the Don Callan Classic. Cedarville swept their part of the tournament, going 2-0 to improve its record to 2-2.
Senior guard Patrick Bain led the Yellow Jackets with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds on 9-14 shooting. Senior forward Robert Okoro added 12 points and four rebounds and junior guard Kwenton Scott had 12 points, all of which came in the first half.
Bain said the way the team grinded tonight with so many new players shows how good the Yellow Jackets can be this season.
“Tonight we battled and I think it just shows our character,” Bain said. “Some people may have counted us out since we were ranked ninth in the conference, but tonight proved how good we can be.”
Cedarville got in foul trouble early, as the Yellow Jackets committed four fouls within the first three minutes of the game. This allowed Lake Superior State to take a 7-4 lead before the clock turned to 17 minutes.
Lake Superior State led the Yellow Jackets 9-7 at the media timeout with 15:49 left. After the timeout, Cedarville went on a 16-2 run to take a 23-11 lead with 11:35 remaining. To that point, the free-shooting Lakers were 0-6 from behind the 3-point line.
Cedarville continued to deflate the Lakers, as Bain converted a layup and was fouled with 8:41 left. On the next possession, Scott mirrored Bain’s play with a made layup of his own and was fouled. The free throw gave the Yellow Jackets a 32-14 lead with 7:46 remaining.
Junior guard Grant Zawadzki added to the Cedarville momentum with a steal in half court that led to a bucket for junior forward Gabe Portillo, with Zawadzki assisting. Zawadzki then snuck in and stole the inbound pass, which led to a hard shooting foul. Zawadzki made one of the two free throws, and Cedarville extended its advantage to 38-20 with 3:57 left.
The Lakers mounted a small run to chop down Cedarville’s lead late in the half. Five points in the final minute of the half by Lake Superior State allowed them to trail by 11 at halftime, 42-31. Scott and Bain each tallied 12 points in the half, while Lake Superior was 0-15 from behind the arc.
The Lakers scored a layup, forced a turnover and made another layup to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 42-35 to open the second half. Okoro attempted a rare three and netted it to push Cedarville back up by ten with 18:48 left.
With 14:21 left, junior forward Joey Morlan sank a 3-pointer to get Lake Superior State of the Yellow Jackets’ back. Cedarville took a 51-45 lead with the shot. Sophomore guard Demond Parker used off-ball movement to find his way to a wide open layup on the next possession, giving Cedarville a 53-47 advantage.
Cedarville continued to distance itself from Lake Superior State, taking multiple 10-point leads within the next eight minutes. The Lakers would fight back to cut the lead to under six, but were unable to nab the lead. With 5:29 left, Cedarville clung to a 67-63 cushion.
Lake Superior State took its first lead since the 15:29 mark in the first half thanks to two free throws. With 3:24 left, the Lakers led 72-71.
“We kept our poise, even a couple times when we got rattled,” head coach Pat Estepp said.
Bain answered with a three to put the Yellow Jackets back up 74-72 with 3:02 left. On the ensuing possession, Bain splashed yet another 3-pointer with 2:27 left to put Cedarville up 77-72.
The teams continued to battle before sophomore guard Colton Linkous rattled in a corner three with 10.8 seconds left to give Cedarville a 83-78 lead. The shot was enough to will Cedarville to victory to close out the Don Callan Classic.
“That was a really good play by Pat[trick Bain],” Estepp said of the shot. “A lot of guys will take that shot, but Pat made the right pass.”
The Yellow Jackets get a short break as they’ll welcome the Northwood Timberwolves (2-1) to the Callan Athletic Center on Monday. Northwood defeated the Yellow Jackets 73-61 last season. The game tips of at 7 p.m.
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.