by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets came up short against the visiting G-MAC-leading Hillsdale Chargers Tuesday night, falling just short 83-79 in double OT. With the loss, the Jackets’ five game winning streak was snapped and Cedarville now sits in fourth place at 6-3 in the G-MAC.
Junior Branden Maughmer highlighted the Cedarville offense, pouring in 25 points on 10-19 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds, all while playing a total of 49 minutes in the game. Quinton Green added another 17 points while Isaiah Speelman dropped 13 points in the contest and shot 3-5 from 3-point range.Kollin VanHorn scored 12 points off the bench in his first game back, and Jacob Drees contributed six points after hitting a couple 3-pointers.
The Yellow Jackets had a rough start to the game, falling behind 9-2 going into the first media timeout of the game.
The offensive woes continued after a timeout by head coach Pat Estepp, and the 15th ranked Hillsdale took an 18-8 lead only 10 minutes into the game.
After gaining some confidence and composure, however, the Yellow Jackets rallied to cut the Charger lead to nine going into the half, trailing 34-25.
In the first half, Cedarville shot 36 percent from the floor, but an abysmal 1-11 from deep. Hillsdale managed to shoot a red-hot 50 percent from the field while converting 27 percent from 3-point range.
In the second half, Cedarville stuck right with the Chargers. After making a run, the Jackets managed to grab the lead, and with just under a minute to play, Speelman drilled a 3-pointer to give Cedarville a 61-60 advantage.
After Hillsdale’s Patrick Cartier knocked down two free throws, Conner TenHove was fouled under the basket with 24 seconds to play. TenHove calmly hit both free throws to put the Jackets up one, but Cedarville got whistled with 12 seconds left and Hillsdale tied the game at 63, sending the game to overtime.
Cedarville had firmly established some momentum in the second half, and had outscored the visitors 38-29 in the period.
The overtime tip went to the Yellow Jackets, who went to work offensively, scoring in their first three possessions of the period to take what seemed to be a commanding six-point lead with three minutes to go in overtime.
Again Hillsdale rallied to knot the score at 69, forcing double overtime.
The Jackets never established much of a rhythm in the second overtime period, and Hillsdale pulled away to an 83-79 victory, barely surviving on the road after the Jackets gave everything they had.
Unfortunately for Cedarville, foul trouble became an issue in the physical game as TenHove, VanHorn, and Drees all fouled out of the contest.
Cedarville did control the boards in the game, finishing with a 40-35 advantage on the glass. Drees finished the night with 11 rebounds to lead the Jackets’ in that stat category.
One factor in the game that hurt the Jackets was free throws. The team only shot 67 percent from the line, and for as tight of a game as it was, that was the difference between winning and losing. The Chargers outscored the Jackets from the foul line 20-10 in the game.
Cedarville’s offense did pick up significantly in the second half and in the overtime periods, as the Yellow Jackets shot 47 percent from the floor and 36 percent from deep overall in the game.
The Jackets will have a quick turnaround as the team travels to face Malone on February 4th in another G-MAC matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. as Cedarville looks to get back on track with a win.
Josh Decker is a junior Sport Business Management major, and a sports reporter for Cedars. He loves playing sports with friends, and spends much of his free time as a student assistant for the Cedarville men’s basketball team.