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Defense was key to success for Oilers in win over Yellow Jackets

By BRIAN LESTER

1983. That was the last time the University of Findlay men’s basketball team started a season 0-2.

And some were concerned it could happen Saturday  for the first time in nearly 30 years, the Oilers got the job done against Cedarville University in a 74-65 non-conference win at Croy Gymnasium.

No need to worry about that 0-2 start anymore. The Oilers are back on track.

UF won because it played sensational defense when it mattered most. In a game that was almost a test of wills against the Yellow Jackets, the Oilers rose to the occasion down the stretch on the defensive end of the floor.

CU had a 57-56 with just under nine minutes to go in the game, and for those of you who don’t know this, CU is a very good basketball team.

The Yellow Jackets gave No. 1 West Liberty State a run for its money last week in a 105-92 loss and had just beaten Saginaw Valley State 65-55 on Thursday night.

CU won 23 games a year ago and will probably win 20 games again this season. So yeah, it wasn’t a pushover.

But the Oilers dug deep on defense, limiting the Yellow Jackets to only two field goals in the final eight minutes of the game. They made it tough for CU to shoot 3-pointers and they made life just as tough in the paint.

UF also forced a few big turnovers and came down with a few key rebounds down the stretch to seal the deal.

It all added up to a nine-point win over a quality opponent.

I was impressed with the way Aaron Robinson took charge of the defensive effort. He led on defense the way a senior should lead and his effort was key for the Oilers.

I was also impressed with the play of Mark Frilling. If you paid close enough attention, it was obvious his presence in the paint made a big difference in the way the Yellow Jackets played late in the game.

Frilling did his job off the bench and deserves a lot of credit for his performance.

As a whole, the Oilers came together defensively and if they can continue to bring that kind of effort night in and night out, it’s going to pay off during the grind of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.

UF needed a good defensive showing after being rattled by the top-ranked Hilltoppers in a 90-74 loss on Wednesday night in the season opener, and the mark of a good team is the ability to bounce back after a bad game.

The Oilers bounced back in a big way against the Yellow Jackets by leaning on their defense. In the end, they proved they are a good team with a lot of potential to be an even better team in the long run.

Follow me on Twitter @BLester1993 or send me an email at brianlester@thecourier.com.