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Basketball: Oilers are rolling

By ANDY WOLF
sTAFF WRITER
So much of what the University of Findlay men’s basketball program does is in effort to be successful once February rolls around.
A program synonymous with postseason prowess is at it again.
The Oilers have won seven straight, 6-0 this month, to jump into the national rankings at No. 22 heading into today’s 7 p.m. regular-season finale at Walsh.
They are 3-1 at the Cecchini Center since the Cavaliers joined the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2012-13 with each game decided by under eight points.
Findlay (21-5, 15-4 GLIAC) has already clinched the No. 2 seed in the GLIAC tournament while Walsh (16-10, 9-10) has been eliminated from postseason play.
“If you’re one of the teams that’s trending forward then you’re pretty excited,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “You probably put yourself in a good position and that’s how I feel about ours.”
The Oilers are again fifth in the latest Midwest regional rankings released Wednesday.
Junior guard Martyce Kimbrough is coming off the most prolific scoring week of his career, following up his career high 41 points with a 29-point game to earn South Division player of the week for the second time this season. He was also honored as the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association NCAA Division II National Player of the Week.
He’s now fourth in the GLIAC at 20.2 points per game and tops in 3-pointers (104).
Kimbrough and fellow junior Taren Sullivan make up the second best scoring duo in the GLIAC.
Ernst noted that type of tandem works not just because of the team’s assists numbers, but because Kimbrough and Sullivan see the floor well also.
“That’s the element that can always separate a player,” Ernst said. “Outside of scoring, what are they doing to set themselves apart?”
The best duo happens to be the top two scorers in Walsh seniors Zac Carter (24.6 ppg) and Trey Fletcher (22.1).
Both have scored 1,000 points in their careers as different types of players.
Carter is a 5-foot-9 guard while Fletcher is a 6-6, 237-pound forward.
Each will take 17 shots a game, five from downtown.
“If you have good matchups it’s easier to stay at home and play them straight up,” Ernst said. “Some teams that defend us the best are the ones that have just good individual matchups.”
The Oilers have scored over 80 every game in the winning streak, shooting 50 percent or better in each contest.
The trio of Kimbrough, Sullivan and Elijah Kahlig are a combined 72 for 127 from 3-point range in that span.
UF’s women’s basketball team will play its regular season finale at Walsh 5 p.m. today.
The Oilers (13-14, 7-12) have already been eliminated from postseason play for the fourth consecutive year.
The Cavaliers (14-12, 10-8) nabbed the tournament’s eighth and final seed.
In the first meeting, Christa Puthoff went for 18 points and seven rebounds and Haley Horstman scored all 10 of her points after halftime as UF outlasted Walsh 76-73 in overtime.
Anna Hintz added 13 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks for the Oilers.
Today is the last time UF senior Karli Bonar (6.9 ppg) will suit up.
She’s left her mark on the program with a school-record 250 3-pointers.
Wolf, 419-427-8446