In the second and final game Cedarville men’s basketball played in the Sunshine State, the Yellow Jackets came away with a solid 82-73 win over Florida Southern. With the victory, the Jackets improved their regular season record to 7-4.
Senior Isaiah Speelman paced the Yellow Jackets’ offense, finishing with a game-high 22 points on 7-11 shooting from the field, including 6-9 from behind-the-arc.
Senior Branden Maughmer tallied 16 points and six rebounds and sophomore Jayvon Maughmer added 13.
Graduate transfer Tytist Dean had his best game of the season, ending the night with 11 points and seven rebounds, and junior Jacob Drees contributed with a unique stat line that included one point, a team-high ten boards, and seven assists.
The Jackets struggled in the early stages of the game, committing turnovers in their first two possessions and falling behind 11-2 by the first media timeout.
Down 13-6 with twelve minutes remaining in the half, the Jackets finally started to close the gap. Cedarville captured their first lead of the game at 19-18 after scoring on five out of six possessions.
The Yellow Jackets took a 40-32 lead into halftime, shooting the ball an impressive 50 percent from the field and connecting on 8-18, or 44 percent, of their triples.
Cedarville also controlled the boards, holding a 24-12 advantage over Florida Southern.
The Yellow Jackets picked up the defensive intensity in the final twenty minutes, which led to the visitors taking a commanding 73-59 lead in the midst of an offensive run that saw Cedarville score seven straight baskets.
The Jackets held a 77-61 lead with only 3 ½ minutes on the clock, and with time winding down, head coach Pat Estepp emptied his bench as Cedarville locked up the 82-73 victory.
“I thought we showed a ton of grit,” said Speelman. “Everyone stayed together and I think that’s a sign of maturity and trust that we have in each other.”
The Yellow Jackets shot 55 percent from the floor and were hot from behind-the-arc, finishing 14-25 from three-point range.
Cedarville finished the game with a 39-31 advantage on the boards.
In addition to the win, senior Conner TenHove, who had eight points in the game, became only the 20th player in program history to reach 1,500 career points.
“All of the credit goes to my coaches and teammates for putting me in a position to have success throughout my career,” said TenHove after the game. “I just feel really blessed to have had such a positive basketball experience at Cedarville and really excited for what we can accomplish this season.”
Cedarville heads into the Christmas break having won six of their last seven games. The Jackets’ next game is a New Year’s Day matchup against fellow G-MAC school Trevecca Nazarene in Nashville. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 P.M. on Saturday, January 1st.
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.