By BRIAN LESTER
It was the the perfect start to a brutal stretch of games for the University of Findlay men’s basketball team.
The Oilers opened Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play with an 85-63 win over Lake Superior State at Croy Gymnasium Thursday night and it was evident their depth made a difference.
Nine players played at least 16 minutes. Only one played more than 30.
The Lakers couldn’t match it as three of their players were forced to burn energy for more than 30 minutes.
As the Oilers have moved through their first four games, they have made significant strides in establishing their rotation. It’s led to three consecutive wins.
On Thursday, it was Jack Smith who offered up the latest glimpse of the Oilers’ depth. He poured in 19 points, got after it on defesne and provided energy.
Players such as Mark Frilling, Alphonso Baity and Dylan Kaufman have been key as well. All three have contributed on both ends of the floor.
Josh Brown hasn’t played a lot this year, but he is certainly capable of having a big game. His opportunity will come.
It is on the defensive end of the floor where the Oilers have really taken advantage of their depth.
The players in the game can spend a lot of energy being aggressive because they know at some point they will get a break. They also know the bench will bring just as much intensity and energy when it comes to playing defense.
UF has held its last three opponents to under 70 points and has forced 48 turnovers during the stretch.
Defense is going to be key for the Oilers going forward. The next five games of this grueling stretch against GLIAC North Division opponents, including Saturday’s tilt against Northwood, are not going to be easy.
And while the offense might not be there every night, as long as the Oilers capitalize on their depth by playing hard on defense, they will be in a position to win every game in the month ahead.
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