By Josh Decker
The Cedarville men’s basketball team used a late push to escape with a 70-64 victory over Ohio Dominican on Saturday afternoon. The game marked the final home contest of the season for the Jackets as seniors Conner TenHove, Quinton Green, Branden Maughmer, Isaiah Speelman, and Kollin Van Horn were honored before tip-off.
Appropriately, Cedarville’s veteran players stepped up to propel the Jackets to the win.
“It’s tough to put into words what this class has meant to our program,” head coach Pat Estepp said. “They are tough, competitive, and their experience took over tonight.”
The result improves Cedarville to 16-10 in the regular season, including an 11-7 record in conference play.
“This win means a ton,” Speelman said. “We’ve played so many games together, and to get a win is just the perfect way to go out.”
Quinton Green led the way offensively, pouring in 18 points and finishing with a team-high nine rebounds.
Branden Maughmer tallied 17 points to go with six rebounds, and Jayvon Maughmer added 10 points.
The Yellow Jackets came out firing from the start, pounding the ball inside the paint and jumping out to a quick 12-2 lead after Branden Maughmer threw down a dunk off a steal.
The momentum shifted to the visitors, however, and the Panthers closed the gap before Cedarville responded to take a 39-31 advantage into halftime.
Cedarville dominated the visitors 30-8 off points in the paint and also controlled the glass by a 17-12 margin. Despite shooting 52 percent from the field in the first twenty minutes, the Jackets were 0-7 from behind-the-arc.
Coming out of the break, the Jackets stumbled offensively, turning the ball over three times before the first media timeout of the half.
With just under twelve minutes remaining, Ohio Dominican had leveled the score at 48 apiece. The Panthers took the lead as Cedarville’s offense continued to struggle with ball security.
Down 60-57 with 5:17 on the clock, Cedarville went on a 5-0 run to retake the lead and grab the momentum off a triple by Green and a bucket from Jayvon Maughmer.
The Jackets were clinging to a narrow 62-60 advantage entering the final stretch of the game with just under four minutes to play.
With a season-high home crowd of over 1,500 fans, cheering the Yellow Jackets on, the hosts picked up the defensive intensity and forced a couple of key stops before Branden Maughmer and Speelman each sank a pair of free throws to polish off the 70-64 Senior Day victory.
Cedarville ended the afternoon shooting 46% from the floor as a team but only managed to convert on 3-15 shots from deep.
Despite getting outshot from behind-the-arc, the Jackets had their way in the paint, ending the game with a commanding 38-18 advantage over the Panthers inside.
Asked about what this game meant to him, senior Conner TenHove replied, “It means everything. This group of seniors has been through a lot together over the years, and it’s special to get a win in our last home game together.”
Cedarville will look to continue the winning streak when the Jackets travel to face off against Malone on February 24th in another G-MAC matchup. Tip-off is scheduled 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.