By Josh Decker
The Cedarville men’s basketball team saw its three-game win streak snapped Monday night after falling to Lake Erie 86-83.
The Jackets are now 13-9 overall and 9-6 in G-MAC play.
The Jackets’ defense failed to contain Lake Erie’s shooters as the visitors exploited the defensive breakdowns all night long. Cedarville’s struggles on the court also extended to the free-throw line, where the Jackets ended the game a miserable 13-21.
Branden Maughmer led the way offensively, pouring in 29 points on a red-hot 13-19 shooting from the field.
Jayvon Maughmer scored 13 points in the game, and Isaiah Speelman added nine to amass the 1,000-point mark for his Cedarville career.
“I’m not a big awards guy,” Speelman said. “But this one is pretty special to me. My teammates are unselfish enough to where five guys on the team can get 1,000 points, which is awesome.”
From the tip, the Jackets were a step slow on the defensive end, and it led to the visitors jumping out to a quick 12-7 lead.
Cedarville responded with an 11-4 offensive run to grab an 18-16 advantage with just under twelve minutes to play in the half.
The final eight minutes of the first half were tight, but Branden Maughmer gave the Jackets the momentum by throwing down a highlight-reel dunk after Cedarville forced a turnover with 1:16 left on the clock.
The Yellow Jackets went into halftime holding on to a narrow 38-37 lead.
However, Cedarville was ice-cold from behind-the-arc, going 1-8 from deep in the first twenty minutes despite shooting 54 percent from the floor overall.
Coming out of the break, the Jackets continued to struggle with getting consistent defensive stops, but Cedarville’s offense kept the game close.
With 12:58 remaining, Speelman drilled the triple that sent him over the 1,000-point threshold.
Then, with a minute and a half to play, Branden Maughmer and Speelman connected on back-to-back three-pointers to bring Cedarville within one with 1:21 left, but miscues on the defensive end cost the Jackets as the Storm took an 86-80 lead with five seconds remaining.
Grant Whisman buried a quick triple, but it was too little, too late. The clock expired as Cedarville suffered a disappointing loss.
Despite shooting 53% from the field and dominating in the paint 42-30, the Jackets allowed Lake Erie to finish the night 55% from the floor. Cedarville was also out-worked on the glass, with the Storm ending the contest with a 31-28 rebounding advantage.
The Yellow Jackets have a quick turnaround as the team will hit the road for a rematch against Lake Erie on Wednesday, February 9th. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 P.M. as the Jackets look to get back in the win column.
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.