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    Sports Buzz at The Courier

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    Findlay, OH. 45840

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UF Game Blog: Oilers vs. Eagles

The Matchup: University of Findlay vs. Ashland University at Croy Gymnasium in Findlay. Game time set for 6 p.m.

Records: Oilers are 15-6 overall and 12-5 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Eagles are 9-11 overall and 7-10 in the GLIAC.

Series: UF leads 58-27.

Last Time Out: The Oilers capped a two-game road swing with an 81-60 win over Tiffin on Saturday.

Greg Kahlig went off for a career-high 33 points, drilling seven treys along the way, as UF won its second consecutive game.

Brad Piehl added 10 points and eight rebounds on a day when five players scored at least eight points. The Oilers shot 48.3 percent from the field and scored 19 points off turnovers.

AU beat  Malone 79-62 on Saturday for its fourth consecutive win. Evan Yates scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Brook Turson scored 13 points as well.

Will Evans (11), Paul Honigford (11) and David Harris (10) were all in double figures as well.

The Eagles shot 54 percent from the field and made 10 3-pointers.

Scouting the Opponent: AU is averaging 67.6 points per outing and allowing 66.6. The Eagles are shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc. Opponents are shooting 42.1 percent from the floor and 32.7 percent from 3-point range against the Eagles.

The Eagles average 33.6 rebounds per game and give up 33.2 rebounds per outing. They average 12.2 turnovers per game and force 11.6.

Senior forward Evan Yates leads the Eagles in scoring at 16.8 ppg. He is grabbing 9.6 rebounds per game and has blocked 22 shots.

Junior forward Will Evans is averaging 9.6 points per outing and has knocked down 27 treys. Senior guard Ronnie Steward is averaging 8.7 ppg and has made 17 treys. He has also dished out 37 assists.

Sophomore guard Brook Turson (8.0), redshirt sophomore guard Dawuan Thomas and senior guard David Harris (5.5) have also been steady contributors. Turson has made 27 treys and has tallied 17 steals. Thomas has racked up 27 steals and has made 12 long-range shots.

The Eagles have yet to win on the road as they are 0-8 away from home.

One to Watch: Jake Heagen has been turning in good all-around solid efforts lately, including a 4-point, five-rebound, six-assist, 3-steal effort against TU on Saturday, and this could be a night where he really gets going offensively.

Heagen has scored nine or more points in eight of his last 15 games and is averaging 7.9 points per outing.

He also leads the team in rebounds and steals, grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game and tallying 24 steals. The sophomore forward has dished out 33 assists as well.

Heagen can impact a game in so many different ways and if he can provide a lift offensively tonight, especially by attacking the basket for layups, it’s going to make a big difference in a game the Oilers need to win to continue their quest for a conference title and NCAA Division II tournament berth.

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

Check out the GLIAC Basketball Page for more information.

My Thoughts

The Oilers hit a low last month when they let one get away from them in a 61-60 loss to AU at Kates Gymnasium.

The Eagles just made the played plays down the stretch and the Oilers didn’t do what was necessary to finish off an opponent.

But the Oilers get their shot at revenge tonight. They have played with more confidence lately, especially on the offensive end of the floor, and it’s important for them to maintain that confidence against the Eagles.

For UF, it all starts with getting the job done defensively. The Oilers have learned to be more disruptive on defense and that will be key against an AU team that not only has a talented post player in Evan Yates, but a cast of dangerous outside shooters.

The Oilers need to put Yates in tough situations early in the game and make it difficult for him to get good shots off. Getting Yates to the point where he almost becomes frustrated because nothing is coming easy is a key to success.

UF has been one of the best defending the 3-point shot, holding opponents to 28.1 percent shooting from long range, and it has to be able to put a lot of pressure on the perimeter, which in turn, could lead to turnovers and easy baskets on the other end.

I don’t expect Kahlig to go off for 33 points again, but as long as he scores in double figures and his teammates provide balance to the offense, the Oilers are going to be fine.

The Eagles are fighting for their playoff lives, but the Oilers are potentially fighting for a one or two seed in the conference tournament and a trip to the NCAA tournament.

The Oilers have to be the team that plays with unmatched intensity and determination. Jumping on the Eagles will be important. AU hasn’t won a road game this season and the Oilers have to take advantage of that by jumping on the Eagles early on and dictating the tempo of this game

I’ll have more when I arrive at the gym. You can also follow me on Twitter @BLester1993 for updates. Enjoy the game everyone.

Update: Oilers finish off the Eagles 69-52 to avenge the loss last month. Big win for UF as it stays on top of South Division.

Update: Oilers have a 60-49 lead with 4:55 to go in the second half. They continue to get after it on the defensive end of the floor and have it some timely 3-pointers as well, including one by Dylan Kaufman.

Update: The Oilers have taken control in the second half. A-Rob just drove in for a layup and UF leads 51-35 with 9:55 to go in the second half. Oilers have made Evan Yates a non-factor, and when he struggles, so do the Eagles.

Update: Jake Heagen throws down a dunk and has done a solid job rebounding the ball and Brad Piehl has hit a couple of shots as Oilers surge in front 42-31 with 14:12 to go in second half. This is what UF needed coming out of the locker room against the Eagles.

Update: Oilers need to get their intensity back and just avoid taking those shots they have no need to take. They are the better team here and a good start to the second half will tilt this game in their favor once and for all.

Update: Oilers get six straight points from Brad Piehl to close the half and Oilers lead 30-24 at halftime. Need a strong start to second half.

Update: Oilers have a 22-14 lead with 4:53 to go in opening half. UF needs a strong finish to this half to put away the Eagles.

Update: The Oilers have struggled to find their shot in last few minutes and lead 18-8. They continue to play well on defense but need to pick the intensity back up on offense.

Update: The Oilers have come out with perhaps their best start of the season. They have opened up a 16-2 lead behind eight points from Greg Kahlig. UF doing a good job of running their offense and have been tough defensively.

Update: Starting lineups being announced. It’s game time for the Oilers.

Update: Almost time to play basketball here at Croy. The Oilers are warming up as they get ready to play a crucial game against the Eagles. UF needs to set tthe tone with its defense out of the gate.

Update: Charlie Ernst talked about the importance of his team playing with the same hunger at home that it showed on the road last week. It will no doubt be key tonight against the Eagles. UF has to play like this game means everything, because this is the time of the year where every game counts.

Update: I am at Croy Gymnasium as the Oilers get set to battle the rival Eagles. UF is playing four of its final five games of the regular season at home and can still accomplish all of its goals.

But the Eagles come in desperate for a win to keep their conference tournament hopes alive and Oilers have to be able to be ready to play their best. UF needs to get revenge for the loss it suffered a month ago against AU.