By Josh Decker
The 2021-2022 season came to a close Friday afternoon for No. 6 seeded Cedarville men’s basketball with a 68-61 loss to No. 3 Hillsdale in the first round of the NCAA Division II tournament.
The Midwest regional matchup featured two conference rivals who were meeting for the fourth time this season, with the Jackets emerging victorious in the most recent contest 68-66 to stun the Chargers in the G-MAC conference tournament last Friday night.
Senior Branden Maughmer highlighted the Cedarville offense today with a double-double, pouring in 27 points to go with a game-high ten rebounds.
His younger brother, Jayvon, scored 11 points and senior Quinton Green added ten points while securing eight rebounds.
Branden Maughmer drilled a jump shot to open the scoring on Cedarville’s first offensive possession before Green buried a triple shortly after to give the Jackets early momentum.
The Chargers came out firing on offense as well, however, and Hillsdale held a narrow 15-12 lead by the first media timeout of the half.
The Jackets quickly found themselves on the wrong side of a 9-1 run as the deficit grew to 24-13. Cedarville’s defense was struggling to slow down the Chargers’ offense, and the failure to get consistent stops meant the Jackets were not getting any transition opportunities.
Cedarville trailed 39-24 going into halftime, having shot only 31% from the floor and going a miserable 3-13 from behind-the-arc.
Hillsdale was shooting 53% from the field and also dominating the Jackets in the paint, jumping out to a 22-8 advantage in the first twenty minutes.
Coming out of the break, Cedarville picked up the defensive intensity, which sparked a 13-0 run to trim the deficit to 45-37 while shifting the momentum to the Jackets.
After scoring on seven straight possessions, including a dunk by Quinton Green, the Chargers’ advantage was cut to three following a Jayvon Maughmer triple with 7:57 remaining.
The rest of the contest remained close, but the Jackets were never able to reclaim the lead in spite of having multiple open looks in transition in the final stretch.
Cedarville outscored Hillsdale 37-29 in the second half, but it was not enough as the team fell 68-61.
The Jackets finished the game shooting only 36% from the field and 25 from behind-the-arc while the Chargers shot 46% from the floor. Hillsdale also held a narrow 37-35 edge on the boards.
The Yellow Jackets end the year with a 19-13 overall record in what was a very successful and memorable season. Cedarville’s accomplishments included finishing as runners-up in the G-MAC conference tournament as well as earning a bid to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in program history.
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.