by Josh Decker
The Cedarville Yellow Jackets pulled off an impressive road victory Monday night, stunning NABC Division II No. 6 Findlay 90-84 in overtime. With the win, the Jackets snap a three game skid and improve to 7-5 in the G-MAC.
Junior Branden Maughmer highlighted the Cedarville offense, pouring in a season-high 27 points on 11-16 shooting while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. Quinton Green dropped 17 points and junior Kollin VanHorn added 16 points in the contest on a solid offensive night for the Yellow Jackets.
“It was just a fire focus and being locked in from the moment we stepped into the gym,” explained Maughmer. “We knew we were coming off three bad losses, but we still kept our confidence.”
Cedarville surprised Findlay with a fast start, starting the game off with a Branden Maughmer steal for a transition dunk, and then going on to score the game’s first eight points as the Jackets capitalized on five of their first six possessions.
By the first media timeout, the Jackets’ had jumped out to a 15-8 advantage, and then extended the lead even further to go up 21-11 eight minutes into the game.
In the last few minutes of the half, Findlay’s shooters finally started to get some shots to drop- rattling off three straight 3-pointers to close the gap. The Jackets’ headed into the locker-room up 14 with a 49-35 lead.
Cedarville’s offense seemed to flow much better than the previous three games, and were red-hot from the field, finishing the first half shooting an impressive 75 percent from the field and 64 percent from behind-the-arc.
The Oilers trimmed the Yellow Jacket lead to nine in the first few minutes of the second half, but the Jackets responded by extending the lead to 16.
Cedarville’s shooting cooled off in the second half, and Findlay led a spirited comeback attempt, getting the Jackets’ lead down to five with just over minutes left in the game.
The rest of the half would be tight, and despite Cedarville’s best efforts, the Oilers managed to knot the score at 78 with 22 seconds left.
After being outscored 43-29 in the second half, the Jackets stepped up their game in overtime to take a 12-6 advantage in the extra period.
From the overtime tip, Cedarville’s defense shut down Findlay’s offense, holding the Oilers without a bucket for over three minutes. Despite the effort on defense, Cedarville only managed to hit one shot in the first two minutes of the overtime period.
Findlay finally got a shot to drop, giving them a one-point advantage and their first lead of the game with just under two minutes to play.
However, a Jayvon Maughmer bucket gave Cedarville back the lead back at 81-80, before his brother Branden Maughmer calmly converted a layup to extend the lead to 83-80.
Free throws from Isaiah Speelman and Branden Maughmer secured the 90-84 victory for the Yellow Jackets, which also gave Head Coach Pat Estepp his first victory at Findlay during his coaching tenure at Cedarville.
“We have good leadership on our team, and I think getting back to basics and the guys realizing what makes them good was important,” said Estepp. “Ultimately, they showed up and did the three things we asked of them: play hard, play together, and execute. I think tonight shows what we are capable of.”
The Jackets controlled the glass in the game by a narrow margin, out-rebounding Findlay 37-34. Cedarville dished out 18 assists on the night, which helped contribute to the flow of the offense.
The Jackets’ finished the game shooting 61 percent from the field while limiting Findlay to only 42 percent. Cedarville was 48 percent from deep on the night, and also dropped 40 points in the paint.
The Yellow Jackets’ will return to action Thursday, February 11th when the team hosts Trevecca in another G-MAC battle. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. as Cedarville looks to keep the momentum going with another win. The Jackets won the previous meeting on January 7th against Trevecca by a score of 69-56.
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.