By Emily Tuttle
The Cedarville men’s basketball team defeated Boyce in a dominant 129-63 fashion on Wednesday, December 6 in their Christmas at Callan matchup.
Although impressive, the Jacket’s 66-point margin was not the highlight of the evening. The men were on fire from three and broke Cedarville’s previous record of 20 treys in a single game with an astounding 26. Timothy Davis led the Jacket’s 59.1% 3-point shooting, nailing all seven of his attempts.
After hitting a few shots, Davis knew that he was going to have a special night.
“I got that pass from Kyle [Thomas] and then when that went in I was like, ‘Okay it’s one of those nights,’” Davis said.
From the tipoff, the Jackets were aggressive offensively and did not take their foot off the gas. They played at a fast pace and caught their opponents off guard. They capitalized on Boyce’s 20 turnovers, turning them into 39 points.
Their intensity only increased as they turned their defensive stands into points. In the final minutes, freshman Anthony Ruffolo scored a layup which gave him his first career triple-double. His teammates jumped off the bench and celebrated as he finished with 10 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds.
Ruffolo marveled at his D2 competitors’ ability to shoot the lights out, play continually aggressive defense and challenge him to be at his best. His role may be different than in the past, but his mindset remains strong.
“For me, it’s more facilitating and less scoring, but I’m just here to win and it’s been really fun to do that,” Ruffolo said.
Before the game, Head Coach Pat Estepp encouraged his players to take their confidence from warmups straight into the first moments of the matchup.
“Quit overthinking the start of games,” Estepp said. “Let’s just come out and start firing.”
And fire they did. The team’s shooting allowed them to not only establish an early lead but to concentrate on growing it throughout the night.
“In 24 years, I don’t think I’ve ever had a team not lose focus at some point in a 40-minute game,” Estepp said. “We challenged them at halftime. We gave them some goals defensively that they weren’t hitting at the half and they came out and almost hit them in the second half.”
This defensive aggression was evident after the break as the Jackets surpassed their first-half stats in steals and rebounds and matched their numbers for blocks.
Cedarville’s dominance against Boyce also gave confidence to players coming off the bench. Estepp stressed the importance of games where giving significant minutes to bench players allows them to build talent. Among these talents were Ethan Sellars who scored 25, and Davis who finished with 35.
“When we can play at our best, a lot of great things can happen,” Ruffolo said.
The Jackets will look to continue their momentum and play at their best on Saturday at 3 p.m. against G-MAC foe Findlay.
Emily Tuttle is a freshman Broadcasting, Digital Media, and Journalism major. She has a passion for Philly sports, weight lifting and all things silly.
Photo by Cody Ballmer