by Josh Decker
Cedarville University men’s basketball put together a strong performance and earned their second win in their home opener Monday night, defeating Southern Indiana by a score of 101-88.
The result improves the Jackets overall record this year to 2-3 and wraps up a busy schedule this past week that saw Cedarville play three games in five days.
“The biggest positive is the toughness we played with,” said head coach Pat Estepp. “I thought we really played hard on both ends of the floor, and we had a really good crowd that gave us great energy.”
Senior Branden Maughmer led the team offensively, pouring in a season-high 26 points on 9-14 shooting from the field. He also contributed three assists and five steals on the night.
“We defended and got our press going early,” said Maughmer. “That brings us energy and sparks our offense.”
Senior Quinton Green dropped 19 points, going 5-9 from the field, and senior Conner TenHove added 18 points to go with five rebounds.
“Super proud of our team for how we competed tonight,” said TenHove. “Our team has so many weapons offensively and that balance was on full display. That was a big win for us.”
The Jackets’ offense got off to a fast start, going seven straight possessions with points early on in the game. An Isaiah Speelman 3-pointer gave Cedarville an 11-10 edge at the under-16 media timeout, and then both teams went cold from the field for a stretch.
A pair of free throws made by senior Kollin VanHorn started what has been the Jackets’ best offensive run this season, with the team scoring 10 of their next 13 trips down the floor.
After pounding the ball inside to VanHorn and TenHove, Cedarville spread the defense out and Green drilled a triple.
Sophomore Jayvon Maughmer then nailed back-to-back shots from behind the arc to give the Yellow Jackets a 30-27 lead with eight minutes to play in the first half.With an increased effort defensively, Cedarville began forcing turnovers and getting easy buckets in transition.
Branden Maughmer led the way for the Jackets as the home team jumped out to a 40-29 advantage, forcing Southern Indiana to call a timeout.
Cedarville continued to apply defensive pressure coming out of the timeout, converting quick layups in transition before Green slammed home a dunk that sent the crowd to its feet.
The Jackets pushed the lead out to 17 with just under four minutes to go in the half, up 49-32 on the visitors.
Southern Indiana managed to hit a couple shots to close out the first 20 minutes, closing the gap to 55-43 at halftime.
Cedarville shot lights out from the field in the first half, going 77 percent from the field and 71 percent from behind the arc. The Jackets also went a perfect 16-16 from the foul line.
Southern Indiana came out of the break and trimmed the lead to six before TenHove finished on an and-1 basket in the paint.
With twelve minutes to play, Cedarville held a commanding 74-58 advantage. The Jackets’ offense continued to flow well as everyone on the court got involved.
By the under-four media timeout, the Jackets were up 90-78 on the Screaming Eagles. A pair of buckets by TenHove all but sealed the result for Cedarville.
As the last couple minutes of the clock ran out, the Jackets continued to shoot well from the free-throw line, finishing the game 28-30 as a team.
TenHove hit two free throws to close out the game as Cedarville hit the hundred-point mark with a 101-88 victory.
The Yellow Jackets ended the game shooting 59 percent from the field as a team and going 7-16, or 44 percent from deep.
The Jackets also controlled the glass, finishing with 31 rebounds compared to Southern Indiana’s 28. Junior Jacob Drees finished with a team-high six boards.
Cedarville dominated the visitors in the paint, ending the game with a 44-26 advantage and scoring efficiently on 15 of 18 touches inside.
The Yellow Jackets have the rest of the week off with Thanksgiving approaching, and the team’s next game is not until Thursday, December 2nd when the Jackets open G-MAC conference play with a trip to Tiffin. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Josh Decker is a senior 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.