By ANDY WOLF
CEDARVILLE — University of Findlay men’s basketball coach Charlie Ernst always expects a tough battle from Cedarville University.
After all, they’ve met every year in his seven seasons coaching the Oilers.
While Findlay has won all seven of those contests, including Saturday’s, they notched their closest win yet against the Yellow Jackets under Ernst, surviving 79-78 in overtime to remain unbeaten in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play in Cedarville.
“People don’t view it this way unless they’re older fans but Findlay and Cedarville was a natural rivalry for many, many years,” Ernst said. “When we made the decision to join the GMAC the one positive for everyone, including me, is that we would be reunited with Cedarville.
“I figured this rivalry would sort of resurface. Today was an indication on the men’s and women’s side that it will.”
Findlay upped its winning streak to seven games and record to 11-2 overall, 6-0 in the GMAC.
Of the seven wins against Cedarville (6-5, 1-3) under Ernst, five have been by nine points are less, including the last three.
Findlay holds a commanding lead in the all-time series at 72-22 against Cedarville.
Their fate wasn’t decided until the final buzzer sounded in overtime.
UF sophomore Aaron Overhiser split a pair of free throws, making the first, to give UF a slim margin with 7.3 seconds remaining.
Cedarville’s Conner TenHove rebounded the miss and dished off to Patrick Bain, who dribbled three times up court, only to fumble the ball going behind his back.
Bain attempted to pass the ball a few feet across the timeline to teammate Robert Okoro, but Martyce Kimbrough’s hands in his face delayed the pass just enough for Taren Sullivan to step in at the last second and deflect the ball in the air.
Time expired before anyone could get possession.
“(Bain) couldn’t get a clean outlet and when he got it he was maybe going a little faster than he wanted,” Ernst said. “Martyce made a great defensive play. … It sort of took him out of the play and then when he tried to make the pass to (Okoro), Taren got a piece of the pass.”
Ernst cited it as Martyce’s best-made play of the game.
Bain, who averaged 19.8 points per game coming in, went for a game-high 33 points after scoring only nine in the first half.
He buried five 3-pointers in 10 attempts and also made 10 of 13 attempts at the foul line.
Bain sunk two clutch free throws with seconds left in regulation to tie the game.
After White scored via a putback on UF’s first overtime possession, Bain drove past Kimbrough to tie it up.
Elijah Kahlig quickly gave the Oilers the lead back on a jumper from the right elbow.
Two empty possessions later, Bain converted both ends of a one-and-one to knot the game back up at 78-78 with 2:02 remaining.
“They kind of went to an offense where they put the ball in his hands and hoped that he could make a play,” Ernst said. “Obviously he made quite a few. When he didn’t he got fouled.”
Kimbrough led UF with 18 points, Kahlig added 14 points and Sullivan chipped in 11.
Sullivan, who had scored at least 15 points in every game for the Oilers so far, battled foul trouble all game long and only saw 27 minutes.
He went to the bench after committing his second foul 6 minutes in and returned 12 minutes later, only to pick up his third foul within 21 seconds of checking back in.
Sullivan played foul free the rest of the way.
“Taren’s not normally a guy who plays in foul trouble,” Ernst said. “(His third one) was a careless foul on his part. He kind of lost his head there. He missed a shot on offense, came down and committed a bad foul.
“Maybe he regrouped a little bit mentally at halftime and came back out in the second half and re-established himself on the block, which is what we needed.”
The Oilers shot 44.3 percent overall, 7 of 30 from downtown.
Kahlig missed all four attempts from 3-point range but was 5 of 5 from inside the arc.
Trey Smith added nine points and two steals off the bench. Overhiser tallied eight points and four rebounds.
“Today was not a masterpiece that’s for sure,” Ernst said. “We got a good road win against a good team in our conference and we’re tickled about that.”
FINDLAY (11-2, 6-0 GMAC)
Gardner 3-7 0-2 7, Sullivan 5-12 0-0 11, Kimbrough 6-15 4-5 18, Kahlig 5-9 4-4 14, White 3-9 0-0 6, Smith 4-6 0-0 9, Schmock 1-1 1-2 3, Masterlasco 0-1 0-0 0, Wildermuth 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley 1-4 0-0 3, Overhiser 3-6 1-2 8. TOTALS: 31-70 10-15 78.
CEDARVILLE (6-5, 1-3 GMAC)
Kraatz 1-1 0-0 2, Bain 9-15 10-13 33, TenHove 2-3 0-0 4, Okoro 5-10 1-2 11, Zawadzki 7-16 0-0 17, Linkous 2-6 0-0 5, Matticks 1-1 0-0 2, Morlan 0-2 0-0 0, Scott 1-3 2-6 4. TOTALS: 28-57 13-21 78.
3-Point GOALS: Findlay 7-30 (Sullivan 1-4, White 0-1, Gardner 1-4, Kimbrough 2-8, Kahlig 0-4); Cedarville 9-21 (Bain 5-10, Zawadzki 3-4, Linkous 1-3, Morlan 0-2, Scott 0-2).
rebounds: Findlay 34 (White 7); Cedarville 41 (Okoro 9).
ASSISTS: Findlay 11 (Smith & Schmock 3); Cedarville 10 (Zawadzki 4).
STEALS: Findlay 7 (Sullivan & Smith 2); Cedarville 6 (Zawadzki & Kraatz 2).
BLOCKS: Findlay 0; Cedarville 1 (Okoro).
TURNOVERS: Findlay 12; Cedarville 15.
TOTAL FOULS: Findlay 20; Cedarville 21.
FOULED OUT: None.
HALFTIME: Tied, 35-35.