By BRIAN LESTER
The Matchup: University of Findlay vs. Cedarville at Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio. Game time set for 3 p.m.
Records: Oilers are 0-1 and ranked No. 8 in the nation. Yellow Jackets are 1-2.
Series: UF leads the series 66-22. The Oilers edged the Yellow Jackets 90-84 a year ago at home.
Last Time Out: In a hyped-up season opener, UF fell 90-74 to top-ranked West Liberty State on Wednesday night at Croy.
The Oilers hung right with the Hilltoppers early but an 18-7 run to close the half proved to be the difference as UF lost its first season opener since 2002. The Oilers trailed 39-23 at halftime.
Brad Piehl scored 15 points and Greg Kahlig added 14 points. Aaron Robinson clicked for 12 points to go along with eight rebounds for UF, which shot 44.6 percent from the field.
The Oilers out-rebounded the Hilltoppers 38-36 but turned the ball over 22 times while forcing only eight turnovers as UF lost for only the fourth time at home since the 2003-04 season. It has won 153 games during the stretch.
CU earned its first win of the season by knocking off Saginaw Valley State 65-55 on Thursday night.
Zimmy Nwogbo scored 19 points and Austin Foote pumped in 15 points as the Yellow Jackets shot 60 percent from the field en route to the win.
CU was out-rebounded 32-24 and did turn the ball over 22 times but it limited the Cardinals to 38.5 percent shooting.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets: CU is averaging 76.3 points per game and allowing 78 points per outing. It also played West Liberty this season, falling 105-92 on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets are shooting 47.6 percent from the floor and holding opponents to 45.1 percent shooting. They have made 16 3-pointers and have given up 26.
Nwogbo leads the team in scoring at 23.7 ppg and he is also grabbing 10 rebounds per game.
Foote is pumping in 12.7 ppg and has drilled six treys. Zach Brown is averaging 8.3 ppg.
Nine players play at least 12 minutes per game for CU and three (Nwogbo, Foote and Brown) average more than 30 minutes per game.
One To Watch: Brad Piehl stepped up with a big game in the opener against the Hilltoppers, scoring 15 points, and he will need to establish himself in the post against the CU for the Oilers to be successful in this non-conference tilt.
Piehl also grabbed four rebounds in the opener. Piehl was one of the better shooters for UF last season and if he can have another big shooting night, the rest of the offense should follow his lead as the Oilers will look to take advantage of the cast of talented shooters they have in their lineup.
Around The GLIAC: Finlandia at Northern Michigan; Ohio Valley at Ohio Dominican; Northwood at Indianapolis; Grand Valley State at Bellarmine; Lake Superior State at St. Joseph’s; Tiffin at Wheeling Jesuit; Saginaw Valley State at Central State; Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth; Lewis at Ferris State.
Check out more GLIAC hoops info by clicking here.
Without question, the Oilers need to bounce back from that tough season-opening loss to the Hilltoppers.
UF didn’t play horrible in the opener. It’s just that it had one bad stretch in the final eight-plus minutes of the opening half where it got sucked into playing the Hilltoppers’ fast-paced game. And once you fall behind to a team like WLSU, it’s tough to come back.
Still, the Oilers have a good basketball team and they have the talent to win a lot of games, starting with Saturday’s battle against a CU team that no one should take lightly.
The Yellow Jackets played all three of their opponents tough, including WLSU, and you better believe they will be ready to play the Oilers as well.
UF needs a quick start. It needs to be able to get into the flow of its offense early and knock down shots, both in the paint and beyond the arc. If the Oilers are successful at doing that early on, it should set the tone for them to play hard on the defensive end.
The Yellow Jackets have had trouble taking care of the ball. Even against SVSU, they turned the ball over 22 times. UF needs to force CU to make mistakes and turn some of those mistakes into easy baskets.
Rebounding will be one area to watch.
The Oilers held their own against the Hilltoppers and actually finished with a slight edge on the boards. If they can duplicate that effort against CU, it will not only limit opportunities for the Yellow Jackets to get its offense clicking, but it will also create second-chance baskets.
I know it’s early in the year, but the reality is this is a must-win game for the Oilers, especially being at home. UF does not want to start the year 0-2.
As long as UF plays up to its potential and takes advantage of its depth, it will get its first win of the year and have a positive experience to build on when it returns from Thanksgiving break.
I’ll have more on the game when I arrive at the gym. I’ll have updates right here and you can follow me on Twitter @BLester1993 for updates as well.
Enjoy the game everyone.
Update: And the Oilers win their first game of the year, knocking off the Yellow Jackets 74-65. Good win for UF, which got the job done defensively down the stretch.
Update: Oilers have really done a good job of stepping up defensively and a clutch reverse layup by Brad Piehl gives UF a 68-62 advantage with 1:54 to go in the second half.
Update: Once again, Greg Kahlig comes up big for the Oilers, scoring on a layup and drawing a foul. He hits the free throw and UF pushes its lead to 66-62 with 4:43 to go in the second half. Now, the Oilers need to come up big defensively down the stretch.
Update: Greg Kahlig has been very good at attacking the basket over the last few minutes and has helped the Oilers build a 54-50 lead with 9:45 to play. One of the other differences in this half has been the play of Mark Frilling in the paint. He has been tough defensively as the Yellow Jackets haven’t had much luck getting baskets.
Update: The Oilers continue to play hard defensively and lead 49-48 with 12:41 to go in the second half. Most of their offense has come from the free-throw line in this half. If the Oilers could just get a few more shots to fall, they could create some separation against the Yellow Jackets.
Update: Greg Kahlig led the Oilers with 13 points. Aaron Robinson has pumped in six points. UF shot 40 percent from the field and CU shot 41.4 percent.
Both teams have 17 rebounds. UF only has one trey in the first half. It needs to try to hit a few more early in the second half and jump-start the offense. The key, though, is to continue to try and get after it defensively and create some easy shot opportunities.
Update: The Oilers go into halftime with a 31-30 lead as they close the half on a 5-0 run. UF played well defensively in the last couple of minutes and took advantage of some free-throw opportunities (5-of-6) to take back the lead.
CU has a very good team. It gave West Liberty a run for its money. The Oilers are going to have to start the second half strong and find a way to grab the momentum in a game that has been close so far.
Update: Oilers have gone close to three minutes without a field goal. This is a point in the game where someone needs to step up and spark UF, which could really use a strong finish to this half.
Update: UF had been playing well defensively but has given up three straight treys to CU now finds itself down 17-16 with 10:30 to go in the half. UF is going to have to step it up on defense.
Update: The Oilers have been aggressive early on and have gotten 6 points out of Greg Kahlig to build an 11-6 advantage with 14:56 to play in the opening half. UF needs to continue to work for quality shots and establish some breathing room against a solid Yellow Jackets team.
Update: Here we go UF fans. It’s time to play basketball at Croy Gymnasium.
Update: UF has not started a season 0-2 since 1983. It should be able to keep that streak intact as long as it comes out and plays up to its potential.
Update: Almost game time here at Croy. Oilers wrapping up their warm-ups as they get set to take aim at their first win of the season.
Update: Oilers definitely need to get some shots to fall early. The quicker they can get on a roll, the better off they are going to be against a CU team that will battle hard throughout this game.
Update: I am at Croy Gymnasium as the Oilers get set to battle the Yellow Jackets. We are about 30 minutes from the opening tip. This will mark the 89th team these two schools have gone at it. The Oilers hold a 66-22 edge in the series.