By BRIAN LESTER
We are going to learn quite a bit about the University of Findlay men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon in Canton.
The Oilers were punched in the mouth Thursday night at Croy Gymnasium, in a building where losing is so rare, it’s happened only five times in the last 10 years.
Walsh was the better team and rolled to an 81-61 win. It ended a six-game overall win streak and a 14-game win streak at home. It also knocked the Oilers out of first place in the South Division of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Now, the Oilers have to go to Malone Saturday and play against a Pioneers team that is eager to get back on track as well.
UF will be tested for 40 minutes, and it needs to find a way to pass that test. So much is still on the line over the final month of the regular season, and if the Oilers want to be the team they hope to be this season, they need to thrive during the stretch run.
Yes, Thursday’s loss hurt big time, but the Oilers have no time to dwell on it, especially as they will play four games over the next seven days.
“We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves,” UF head coach Charlie Ernst said. “We are playing a very good Malone team on the road. This is a tough stretch for every team in the conference, and the teams that can survive it, will have a leg up on everyone else. We know what is in front of us during this stretch. They knew the game against Walsh was going to be tough and they know the game against Malone is going to be tough.”
This is the point in the season where the Oilers not only have to be tough from a basketball standpoint, but they have to be tough mentally. They have to be ready to battle through adversity and make the plays that put you in the win column instead of the loss column.
UF is good enough to be that team. It’s just a matter of proving it in the most important stretch of the season, sort of the way Walsh made a statement on Thursday.
“What we learned (Thursday) is when you are hungry and motivated, you can go on the road and beat anyone,” Ernst said.
The Oilers need to be hungry and motivated from here on out. If they are, good things will happen.
Follow me on Twitter @BLester1993.