By ANDY WOLF
Just 14 seconds into Thursday’s game, Martyce Kimbrough ran inside-out around a screen from Tyler Stern-Tucker and swished an open 3-pointer from the right wing.
It was a sign of a long night ahead for Tiffin University and a record-breaking showing for Kimbrough and the University of Findlay men’s basketball team.
Kimbrough canned a UF record 11 3-pointers en route to a career-high 41 points as the Oilers routed the Dragons 105-87 for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win at Croy Gymnasium.
The Oilers (20-5, 14-4 GLIAC) also clinched the South Division title outright — their first since the 2012-13 season.
Collectively, UF tied the single-game mark of 19 3-pointers, hitting 14 in the first half to hold a 61-32 halftime lead.
“It’s like a domino effect,” Kimbrough said. “Once one guy starts hitting, a lot of guys start hitting shots. I think we had 19 assists in the first half which is great.”
Kimbrough, who had hit eight 3-pointers in a game twice this season, entered Thursday needing eight to break the UF single-season record of 95 held by Liberty-Benton alum Nathan Hyde (2009-10).
By the time he was done, Kimbrough had broken Greg Kahlig’s single game-mark of 10 set in the 2013-14 season and surpassed his own personal single game scoring mark of 38 points.
“It’s probably about as locked in as I’ve been, personally,” Kimbrough said. “I see a few go in and I’m confident. I just kept letting them go. Coach kept calling plays for me. My teammates kept looking for me. I give a lot of credit to them.”
Khaleal McCormick’s 20 points led Tiffin (11-15, 6-12).
Although Kimbrough hit the first triple of the night, the dominoes didn’t start falling until Elijah Kahlig buried bombs on back-to-back possessions a few minutes later.
Taren Sullivan added a 3-pointer on the next trip, Kahlig followed up with one more and Kimbrough splashed in another as UF scored on five straight possessions.
“Tiffin decided to pick up the pace a little bit, rat around, a little bit of trapping,” UF coach Charlie Ernst said. “Really, the best thing we did was broke it, shared the ball, threw the extra pass and knocked down 3s. It didn’t really matter if we identified what defense they were in, because we were breaking the press and playing basketball.”
Kahlig missed the next attempt from the left corner, but Kimbrough stretched the lead into double figures (28-16) with back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Oilers still weren’t finished.
Sullivan and Kimbrough hit treys sandwiched around an Aaron Overhiser two-handed dunk.
Trey Smith got in on the fun a minute later with a 3-pointer from the right wing to give UF a 39-18 lead at the halfway mark.
At one point, the Oilers were 10 of 11 on 3-pointers before finishing the first half at 14 of 21.
The Dragons made runs of 11-0 and 10-0 in the second half, but were unable to pull any closer than 15 points.
Stern-Tucker added 17 points for the Oilers.
Sullivan (14 points) and Kahlig (11 points) each buried three 3-pointers and dished out eight assists apiece.
Overhiser chipped in six points and five rebounds off the bench.
Brandon Wilkins added 10 points and had six rebounds for the Dragons.
The Oilers held Tiffin’s leading scorer and rebounder Austin Adams to just six points and five boards.
Adams, who averages 16.0 points and 8.2 rebounds, had averaged 23.3 points in the Dragons’ last six games.
He scored Tiffin’s first field goal of the game, played 30 minutes and was 3 of 7 from the field.
“We did a really good job against him,” Ernst said. “We had different players that guarded him tonight. The biggest thing with him is keeping him off the offensive boards.”
TIFFIN (11-15, 6-12 GLIAC)
Wilkins 5-9 0-0 10, McCormick 8-18 0-0 20, Brown 3-8 1-1 8, Adams 3-7 0-0 6, Mabins 1-1 0-0 2, Kynard 3-11 7-7 15, Rage 3-3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 33-70 10-10—87.
FINDLAY (20-5, 14-4 GLIAC)
Sullivan 5-8 1-2 14, Stern-Tucker 8-10 0-0 17, R. Smith 1-3 0-0 2, Kimbrough 14-19 2-2 41, Kahlig 4-10 3-7 11, Singleton 1-1 1-1 3, George 1-2 0-0 2, Ashley 2-4 0-0 4, T. Smith 2-4 0-0 5, Overhiser 2-2 2-4 6. TOTALS: 40-63 6-9—105.
3-Point GOALS: Tiffin 11-30 (McCormick 4-11, Brown 1-2, Adams 0-2, Johnson 4-9, Kynard 2-6); Findlay 19-32 (Sullivan 3-4, Stern-Tucker 1-2, Kimbrough 11-15, Kahlig 3-7, George 0-1, Ashley 0-1, T. Smith 1-2).
rebounds: Tiffin 28 (Wilkins 6); Findlay 33 (Sullivan 7).
ASSISTS: Tiffin 16 (Brown 5); Findlay 30 (Kahlig & Sullivan 8).
STEALS: Tiffin 7 (Wilkins 3); Findlay 5 (Stern-Tucker 2).
BLOCKS: Tiffin 1 (Adams); Findlay 1 (Stern-Tucker).
TURNOVERS: Tiffin 9; Findlay 12.
TOTAL FOULS: Tiffin 12; Findlay 13.
FOULED OUT: None,
HALFTIME: Findlay, 61-32.