By ANDY WOLF
Elijah Kahlig proved just how deadly he can be from long distance Saturday afternoon.
Burying four 3-pointers in the first 6 minutes of the second half will do that.
The University of Findlay senior guard also showcased his ability to get to the rim with two clutch layups late as the Oilers held off Malone 89-85 for a Great Midwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory at Croy Gymnasium.
Findlay improved to 9-2 overall, 4-0 in the GMAC.
Malone (6-4, 1-3) was led by Ty Jordan’s 41-point effort in which he connected on eight threes.
Kahlig totaled a team-high 19 points, 16 in the second half, with five 3-pointers in nine attempts.
“I didn’t shoot the ball well the first half,” Kahlig said. “I was lucky enough to get a couple of good looks. My teammates had a nice pass out to me, I was able to knock it in. After that, they continued to give me the ball when I was open. Luckily my shots were falling in the second half.”
Kahlig’s outburst was a stark contrast of attempting, and making, a lone jumper in Thursday’s 96-87 win over Walsh. A scorer of 9.3 points per game entering Saturday, he had tallied only 17 points in his last four games.
“Games like those, you just try to dig in defensively and try to make an impact in another way with rebounding, passing, communicating, being more of a fan,” Kahlig said.
On Saturday, he came through at a time when his team needed him most.
First of all, the Oilers suffered through some unfriendliness on the rim the entire first half.
“I’m not sure if I’ve seen more shots rim in and out than what I saw in the first half,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said, estimating seven or eight shots in particular did that.
At the other end, Jordan dropped 20 points and six threes in the first half.
Yet, the Oilers only trailed 38-36 at halftime.
Jordan picked up right where he left off by swishing a 3-pointer to start the second half.
Kahlig answered quickly with his second 3-ball of the night.
Again, Jordan pumped in seven more, capped by a 3-pointer to give the Pioneers a 48-43 lead.
Kahlig fired back once from downtown and two more for good measure in a 9-0 run that gave Findlay a 52-48 lead — its first since 16-14.
“I reminded our team. I don’t want to take anything away from Walsh, but it wasn’t a box-and-1,” Ernst said. “I thought we got trigger happy (that game) and here, one of our best shooters on the team gets one shot. I said that can’t happen.
“He’s not going to force shots, but he needs more than one shot.”
Both teams battled within a possession over the next 10 minutes.
In a 68-68 game and 5 minutes to go, Kahlig drove down the left baseline and finished over Malone’s 6-foot-7 forward Djuro Pantos, who went up with both hands.
Kahlig’s bucket sparked a 9-0 run that gave UF some much needed separation.
Alex White drained a 3-pointer during the spurt and Martyce Kimbrough knocked down a short jumper to finish it off.
The Pioneers didn’t come within a possession again.
Kahlig removed all doubt by taking his own steal the distance for a layup just under the 1-minute mark.
“At the end it just came down to us really digging in and trying to get stops,” Kahlig said. “We played together, communicated, fans were great getting into it. It all played a big factor in helping us get a big win.”
Malone, remarkably, didn’t suffer offensively from a 10-minute stretch in the second half without Jordan making a field goal.
That’s because Pantos (10 points) put in just his sixth and seventh 3-pointers of the season, followed by Rholy Mouliom making his third long-range shot of the season.
The Pioneers also drained three 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds to make the score appear closer.
“We found out how good of a player Ty Jordan is tonight,” Ernst said. “Needless to say, he will have our full attention the next time we play time.”
Taren Sullivan added 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for UF, while White (seven rebounds) and Kimbrough each scored 15 points.
MALONE (6-3, 1-2 GMAC)
Pantos 3-6 2-4 10, Spotleson 4-8 0-0 8, Jordan 13-19 7-8 41, Haynie 1-4 0-0 2, Sheppard 6-12 3-6 17, Najestic 0-1 0-0 0, Mouliom 2-4 0-0 5, Ernst 1-2 0-0 2, Evans 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 30-56 12-18—85.
FINDLAY (8-2, 3-0 GMAC)
Sullivan 6-9 3-4 18, White 6-7 1-1 15, Gardner 1-4 0-0 2, Kimbrough 6-15 2-3 15, Kahlig 7-11 0-0 19, Smith 1-3 4-4 7, Schmock 1-3 0-2 3, Masterlasco 1-1 1-1 3, Ashley 0-1 0-0 0, Overhiser 3-7 1-2 7. TOTALS: 32-61 12-17—89.
HALFTIME: Malone, 38-36.
3-Point GOALS: Malone 13-29 (Pantos 2-3, Spotleson 0-4, Jordan 8-13, Haynie 0-1, Sheppard 2-6, Majestic 0-1, Mouliom 1-1); Findlay 13-32 (Sullivan 3-4, White 2-2, Gardner 0-2, Kimbrough 6-15, Kahlig 7-11, Smith 1-3, Schmock 1-1, Overhiser 0-3).
rebounds: Malone 32 (Djuro 16, Jordan 6); Findlay 31 (Sullivan 11, White 7).
turnovers: Malone 15, Findlay 10.
ASSISTS: Findlay 18 (Sullivan 6, Gardner 5); Malone 17 (Haynie 5, Djuro 4).
STEALS: Findlay 8 (Kimborugh 2); Malone 4 (Jordan 3).
BLOCKS: Findlay 1 (White); Malone none.
FOULs: Malone 16, Findlay 14.