Cedarville narrowly falls to Tiffin in a hard-fought contest

By Emily Tuttle

At the top of the G-MAC and on a nine-game win streak, every opponent is out to beat the Cedarville men’s basketball team. With this target on their back, they fought Tiffin from behind, who was coming off a two-game losing streak and desperate for a win. 

Despite the Jackets’ best effort in the second half to catch up to the Dragons, they fell 79-75 in a matchup where Tiffin dictated the entire game. 

But in the final minutes when the Jackets seemed to falter defensively, they hit key shots offensively to keep them in the game. Ethan Sellars scored 15, all on three-pointers, and Jayvon Maughmer bodied through the paint for key layups. 

In the first half, however, the Jackets looked slow. They could not string together a run or make any stops. Whenever they gained momentum, Tiffin stole it right back. The Jackets finally seemed to gain their footing when they clawed back from an 11-0 Tiffin run and matched it with their own 8-1 run late in the first. They closed out the half with an electric steal and a 3-pointer. 

These continuous lead changes kept the fans engaged through all forty minutes. They hollered at the refs to call more fouls and leaped to their feet to celebrate dunks and steals. In the second half, the crowd’s enthusiasm led to faster, more engaged play from the Jackets. Jacob Drees’ emphatic and-one followed by a Timothy Davis steal and layup finally gave Cedarville the lead. 

Cedarville’s defense, however, could not match their offensive play. They allowed Tiffin to rebound the ball consistently and score 14 off second-chance opportunities. Coach Pat Estepp was unsatisfied with his team’s inability to stop their opponent.

“We had too many defensive breakdowns in the second half,” Estepp said. 

Tiffin shot 61.9% from the field in the second, and unable to stop them, the Jackets lost their lead. Yet again, they were fighting from behind. 

Two of the team’s consistent shooters, Chris Rogers and Anthony Ruffolo, struggled to put the ball through the hoop all night. Rogers went 0-7 from the field while Ruffolo only made three of his 11 attempts. However, Sellars stepped up in their place and scored vital three-pointers to give Cedarville a final hope. 

They cut Tiffin’s lead in the final minutes down to as little as two, but could not even the deficit. The men fouled to stop the clock and buy themselves more time, hoping the back-and-forth nature of the game would fall in their favor. 

Unfortunately, it never did.

The Jacket’s 9-game winning streak snapped, and they will need to refocus for their upcoming 3-game road trip. 

“Ultimately it’s just can we get reset?” Estepp said. “How quickly can you reset and get yourself ready to come back and play a really good Trevecca team on their court?”

Estepp and the Jackets will look to reset and put their loss behind them for their upcoming game against G-MAC opponent, Trevecca Nazarene on Thursday.

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 Logan Howard

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