by Tim Miller
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-1 G-MAC) toppled the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers on Saturday evening, 76-59. The Yellow Jackets used a second-half surge to pull away, shooting 51 percent and scoring 48 points from the field in the final 20 minutes.
Redshirt freshman Quinton Green came off the bench to lead the Yellow Jackets, scoring 19 points and pulling in eight rebounds.
“Quinton Green was tremendous,” head coach Pat Estepp said after the game. “I probably should’ve subbed him in quicker in the second half. When we did, he made a huge impact. That was the spark plug we had been waiting for all night.”
Freshman forward Kollin Van Horn scored 17 points on 7-12 shooting. Freshman guard Branden Maughmer added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Cedarville dominated on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 49-34. The Yellow Jackets’ defense allowed just 33 percent of the Panthers’ shots to go in.
Senior guard Grant Zawadzki started the Yellow Jackets’ scoring with an offensive rebound and quick left-handed layup just 20 seconds into the game. A scoreless streak of two minutes ensued thereafter, as the two teams combined to miss 10 shots. Sophomore forward Conner TenHove got the cover off the hoop with a layup, beating the shot clock buzzer with 17 minutes remaining to put Cedarville up 4-0.
Kentucky Wesleyan didn’t score for the first six minutes of the game, but Cedarville’s misfires left the Yellow Jackets up just 4-3 with 14:06 left.
Junior guard Colton Linkous swished a triple with 9:16 on the clock to put Cedarville back up by four at 13-9. The low-scoring affair seemed to be in favor of the Yellow Jackets early, as their defense rejected three shots and swiped away the ball three times in the first 10 minutes.
Cold shooting continued to plague both squads, but Cedarville saw a couple more shots drop as the half waned. However, the Yellow Jackets were unable to extend their lead to more than four points until the final made shot of the half.
Maughmer drained a mid-range jumper with 30 seconds left and TenHove made two free throws with 1.5 ticks left to send Cedarville to the locker room up 28-23.
Van Horn had seven points in the first 20 minutes. Shooting was abysmal by both teams during the half, as Cedarville was 28 percent from the field and made just one triple. KWU made 29 percent of its attempts and made just one more shot from behind the 3-point line.
Maughmer charged forward for a fastbreak layup with 16:02 on the clock to give the Yellow Jackets a 36-28 lead, their largest of the game. Before the shot, Maughmer was just 2-6 from the field with four points.
The Panthers stormed back, scoring 11 points in just over two minutes to take a 39-38 lead. The run prompted Cedarville to call a timeout.
KWU’s run continued and the Panthers went up 45-38 after a triple with 13:03 remaining to take its largest lead of the contest.
The back-and-forth affair teetered in Cedarville’s favor after Green had an offensive rebound and layup on two straight possessions. With 10:27 left, the Yellow Jackets tied the game at 45.
Maughmer brought the house down with a huge one-handed slam over a KWU defender with 7:37 left to put Cedarville up 47-45. The high-flying freshman answered with another steal on the next possession, but was stuffed by the rim on his dunk attempt.
Green’s triple with one second on the shot clock put Cedarville up 62-51 with 3:33 left. The shot gave Cedarville momentum and seemed to put the Yellow Jackets ahead by enough to close the game out.
Green hammered a two-handed dunk with 1:08 on the clock to sink the Panthers.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Estepp said. “It’s hard to win games when you’re getting close to finals and guys’ minds are all over the place. It felt like until we got to the six or eight-minute mark, we didn’t find a good rotation.”
The Yellow Jackets’ homestand has concluded after today’s game, and Cedarville is off until Friday when they travel to Tiffin. This is Tiffin’s first season in the G-MAC, and the Dragons are 3-6 (1-3) G-MAC.
Tim Miller is a junior marketing major and sports editor for Cedars. He enjoys having a baby face, knowing too much about supplemental insurance, and striving to perfect the optimal combination of Dwight Schrute and Ron Swanson.