by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets fell at home to a hot-shooting Malone (10-6) squad on senior day Saturday afternoon by a score of 96-73. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Jackets, and Cedarville falls to 10-6 in the G-MAC.
Offensively, the Jackets were led by junior Branden Maughmer, who finished the game with 18 points on 7-13 shooting from the field. Junior Isaiah Speelman dropped in 13 points while going 3-5 from behind-the-arc, and junior Kollin VanHorn ended the night with 12 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
VanHorn started off the game for Cedarville with a quick bucket in the paint, and Quinton Green fired in a triple the next possession, but the Jackets’ defense could not defend Malone, who were hitting shots at a rapid pace.
With 12 minutes to go into the half, the Pioneers had stretched their lead to 21-11, which prompted a timeout by head coach Pat Estepp.
The Yellow Jackets came out of the timeout and immediately started chipping away at the Malone lead, cutting the deficit to two points with the score at 26-24.A run by Malone at the end of the half, however, gave the Pioneers a 51-39 advantage going into the locker-room.
One glance at the first half stats would show you that the Jackets’ were getting out-worked. Malone led 23-11 in rebounds, and outscored Cedarville 28-12 in the paint.
While the Jackets shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, including 45 percent from deep, Malone was at 60 percent from the floor and 55 percent from three-point range.
Unfortunately, coming out of the break, it appeared as if nothing had changed defensively for Cedarville as Malone drilled a three-pointer only eleven seconds into the second half.
A Jayvon Maughmer triple brought the Jackets within ten of Malone, but as the game continued, and Cedarville continued to trade baskets with the Pioneers, the Jackets were unable to really cut into the lead.
With eight and a half minutes remaining, the Malone lead was 81-64, and by the under four media timeout, Cedarville’s comeback hopes were all but gone as the deficit had blown up to 18 with the score at 88-70.
In the final couple minutes of the game, the Yellow Jackets’ energy seemed to disappear, and Malone ran away with the game, blowing out Cedarville 96-73.
The Jackets finished the night shooting only 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. Malone’s red-hot offense shot 59 percent from the field and 60 percent from 3-point range.
The Yellow Jackets also got heavily out-worked on the boards, as Malone controlled the glass by a 42-28 margin. Cedarville was also outscored 54-30 in the paint.
Cedarville will have a few days before their next game, when the team hosts Division II No. 23 Findlay in the Callan Athletic Center on Wednesday, February 24th. The Jackets’ stunned Findlay 90-84 in overtime the last time the two teams met on February 8th. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. as Cedarville looks to bounce back with a victory.
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.