by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets fell on the road to a hot-shooting Malone squad on Thursday night by a score of 99-87. The loss is the Jackets’ second straight, and Cedarville falls to 6-4 in the G-MAC.
Offensively, Kollin VanHorn could not be stopped for the Yellow Jackets’ as he led all scorers with 26 points on an extremely efficient 12-15 shooting while pulling in five rebounds.
Quinton Green dropped 14 points in the contest, and junior Isaiah Speelman added 11. Senior Conner TenHove fell one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 10 and grabbing nine boards. Junior Branden Maughmer struggled from the field, going 4-14 from the floor and tallying nine points.
The first half started slowly for Cedarville. After getting a couple buckets, the shots went cold as the Jackets’ went seven straight possessions with no points while committing multiple turnovers.
With 12 minutes to go in the half, Cedarville fell into a deep 26-9 hole, and could not seem to figure out anything defensively.
The Yellow Jackets finally started hitting a few more shots in the final 12 minutes of the half, but continued to struggle on defense, surrendering 49 first half points. Malone went into the locker-room with a 49-37 advantage.
Coming into the final 20 minutes, Cedarville needed to tighten up defensively and out-work Malone. Head coach Pat Estepp preached toughness to his guys in the locker-room, and challenged his team to step it up.
Coming out of the break, Cedarville continued to feed VanHorn on offense, who scored the Jackets’ first five buckets of the period.
Unfortunately, on the other side of the ball, Cedarville could not shut down Malone’s shooters, who were lighting the Yellow Jackets up. The teams traded baskets for most of the second half, which kept the Malone lead just out of reach for the Jackets.
With only a minute and a half to play, the Pioneers were still firmly in control with a 90-73 lead.
Cedarville’s shooters then hit a couple 3-pointers to make it interesting, but the Pioneers were able to hold on for the 99-87 victory.
Cedarville shot 51 percent from the field in the game, but only 33 percent from deep.
Malone was only 48 percent from the field, but nailed a season-high 15 3-pointers on 47 percent shooting from behind-the-arc.
The Pioneers also attempted 20 more free throws than Cedarville, converting on 22-30 to hold a key advantage over Cedarville, who was only 8-10 from the charity stripe.
Cedarville was also outworked on the boards, as Malone secured 38 rebounds to the Jackets’ 35.
The Yellow Jackets’ will have another quick turnaround as the team travels to Tiffin on February 6th in another G-MAC battle. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m. as Cedarville looks to get back in the winning column.