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UF Game Blog: Oilers at Cavaliers

By BRIAN LESTER

The Matchup: University of Findlay vs. Walsh University at Alumni Arena in Canton. Game time set for 6 p.m.

Records: Oilers are 11-5 overall and 8-4 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Cavaliers are 11-4 overall and 7-4 in the GLIAC.

Series: UF leads 12-7.

Last Time Out: The Oilers ended a two-game losing streak with an 83-68 win over Lake Erie College on Saturday in Painesville.

Greg Kahlig erupted for a career-high 30 points, drilling five treys along the way, and the Oilers shot 50 percent from the floor as a team.

Brad Piehl scored 12 points and Alphonso Baity dropped in 10 points. The Oilers held a 37-19 edge on the boards.

Walsh beat Tiffin 95-89 in overtime on Saturday as it won its fourth consecutive game.

Kenny Kornowski scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Rian Burrell dropped in 21 points. Davonte Beard and Brad Dupont scored 14 points apiece.

The Cavs shot 54.8 percent from the field.

Scouting the Opponent: Walsh has won four consecutive games and is just one game back of UF and Hillsdale in the South Division standings.

The Cavs average 83.3 points per game and allow 70.1 per outing. They are shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from 3-point range. Opponents are shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Kornowski is averaging 18.5 points per outing and is pulling down 9.2 rebounds per game. The senior forward has 10 blocks as well.

Burrell, a sophomore guard, is averaging 14.2 ppg and has hit 12 treys while Jesse Hardin, a freshman guard, is averaging 11.1 ppg.

Beard, a sophomore guard,  is also scoring in double figures, averaging 10.3 points per outing, and he has made 14 treys and has tallied 14 steals.

The Cavs average 12.6 turnovers per game and force 14.9.

One to Watch: Alphonso Baity had a strong performance in his second career start on Saturday and it’s a performance he will need to build on as the Oilers get set for another test on the road.

Baity scored 10 points and did a good job of running the offense. His willingness to attack the basket helped set the tone against the Storm.

Baity is averaging 4.6 points per outing and has tallied 24 assists. He also has 11 steals and if he can play well again on both ends of the floor, the Oilers will be in a position to succeed.

Around the GLIAC: Ashland at Ohio Dominican; Northern Michigan at Lake Superior State; Michigan Tech at Northwood; Hillsdale at Malone; Saginaw Valley State at Grand Valley State; Lake Erie at Tiffin; Wayne State at Ferris State.

Check out the GLIAC Basketball Page for more information.

My Thoughts

For the final time this month, the Oilers will go back on the road as they take on a Walsh team that has had a great deal of success in its first season in the conference.

This is a game that could actually help the strength of schedule of the Oilers in the long run.

UF seemed to get its confidence back big time on Saturday and it needs to carry that over into the game against the Cavs. It’s never easy overcoming a couple of close losses, but the Oilers found a way and now they have a chance to set themselves up for a strong finish to the regular season.

The Oilers have to focus on attacking the basket first, just as they did against the Storm, because it allows them to find better shots on the outside. Their patience on the offensive end of the floor will be key, especially on the road.

Defensively, the Oilers will be up against a Cavs team that has a lot of options. They have to be able to limit Kornowski’s impact on the game and play well defending the perimeter because of the number of 3-point threats the Cavs have on their team.

UF has been very good defensively lately and it will need to lean on its defense to be successful. But if the Oilers can combine a good defensive effort with an ability to make good decisions on offense and take quality shots, they will be in good shape.

Taking care of the basketball will be important as well as Walsh does a good job of not turning the ball over too often.

UF just needs to play its game and make plays. This is the time of the year where the Oilers have to play at a high level if they want to be have a shot to contend in the postseason.

I’ll have more when I arrive at the gym and you can follow me on Twitter @BLester1993 for updates as well. Enjoy the game everyone.

Update: Oilers finish the job, getting a big-time road win. UF hangs on for 67-65 victory.

Update: Oilers need to be able to rise up in final four minutes. The score is tied at 60-60 and this is not a game UF wants to have slip out of its grasp.

Update: Hectic pace as Oilers have battled back to close gap to 56-54 after struggling early in half. It’s all about making plays down the stretch and Oilers have to show that they can be a team that knows how to make plays with the pressure on.

Update: Oilers have struggled early in second half and the score is tied at 42-42. UF needs to start hitting some shots coming out of this timeout.

Update: It will be important for Oilers to start strong in the second half because Walsh has had three straight come-from-behind wins. UF needs to keep after it defensively and just work for the best shots possible.

Update: UF made most of final possession of first half as it came up with an offensive rebound and A-Rob dished off an assist to Brad Piehl for a layup as Oilers go into halftime with 40-33 advantage.

UF played very well in the first half in a tough environment and need to maintain this momentum into the second half as it takes aim at a quality road win.

Update: Oilers lead 36-30 with 1:42 to go in half.

Update: Oilers have a 33-25 lead after A-Rob cut right into the lane with ease and scored on a layup. UF weathered a 9-0 run by the Cavs and have built this lead back up. They need to finish the half strong.

Update: Quite a battle going on here at Alumni Arena as Oilers take a 23-21 lead on a jumper in the lane by Jake Heagen. Heagen has scored last seven points for the Oilers, who need to step it up defensively down the stretch in the opening half of play.

Update: Oilers have come out playing determined basketball. Shots have fallen early and they have really done a good job defensively, forcing several early turnovers as they have opened up an 18-10 lead with 13:58 to go in half.

Update: Oilers have connected on treys by Greg Kahlig and A-Rob and have played good defense early as they open up 13-5 advantage.

Update: It’s game time for the Oilers.

Update: The Oilers have taken the floor for warmups. Never thought a game against Walsh would be worth so much, but for UF, this game means a ton tonight. They need this win to stay in the hunt for a GLIAC championship and NCAA tournament berth.

Update: I thought the Oilers did a good job of running their offense Saturday. Their ability to go inside first and then look for the perimeter shot paid dividends. Its the way the Oilers have to play tonight if they are going to take care of business here.

Update: The Oilers have to be able to play well defensively. The Cavs have been very good offensively, averaging just over 80 per game, and getting after it on the defensive end of the floor will be key, especially on the road.

The one thing about UF is that lately it has made a lot of strides on the defensive end, and if it can play smart offensively the way it did on Saturday against Lake Erie, it will be in a good position to steal what would be a huge road win.

Update: I have arrived in Canton as the Oilers get set to take on the Cavs tonight here at Alumni Arena.

This game has turned out to be a big one on the schedule for the Oilers. The Cavs have played well and a win over the Cavs would be huge for the Oilers. It really has become a strength-of-schedule type of game and could go a long way in aiding UF’s quest to get back to the NCAA tournament.