By ANDY WOLF
Especially for a young team, confidence can go a long way in basketball.
On Saturday afternoon, the University of Findlay men’s team had three true freshmen turn in career-scoring nights as the Oilers ran over Marygrove 111-77 in a nonconference game at Croy Gymnasium.
“I was hopeful that we could get an early lead on this team and be able to spread our minutes and give a lot of guys the kind of minutes they need to get better,” Findlay coach Charlie Ernst said, having only four upperclassmen. “It was nice today to play a lot of guys. We had 11 guys get double-digit minutes.
The Oilers improve to 5-4 overall and go over .500 for the first time this season after an 0-2 start.
Marygrove, an NAIA school from Detroit, falls to 1-12.
Alex White came off the bench with career highs of 16 points and nine rebounds. He set his previous scoring best last Saturday in a 73-71 win over Northern Michigan with 14 points.
The 6-foot-7 true freshman forward played at least 17 minutes for the third straight game, recording multiple blocks in each.
Katwan Singleton, another true freshman forward, scored 11 of his career-high 12 points in the second half. He also recorded four rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes, each career bests.
“Katwan is like most kids his age; I can read his body language pretty well.” Ernst said. “In the locker room after the game, I could tell he was feeling pretty good about himself. Most days I wouldn’t always say that’s been the case this year.”
True freshman forward Tyler Arens (6-8) added eight points in eight minutes, having previously totaled only two points in 12 minutes.
The 111 points are the most scored by the Oilers since they defeated Notre Dame (Ohio) College 114-82 in the 2013-14 season.
That game was also the last time UF finished with 28 assists.
“We definitely need to play for each other and this is a good start,” UF guard Dylan Kaufman said. “When you can get open looks and give up a good shot for a great shot. We did that tonight.”
Kaufman led six UF players in double figures with 17 points, hitting 7 of 8 from the field with two 3-pointers.
The 6-foot-5 senior had 10 of the first 17 points for the Oilers, helping them get out to a 17-8 lead just five minutes in.
UF pushed that lead out to 58-34 by halftime and never looked back with a lead once as large as 40.
John Staley had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting and Taren Sullivan chipped in 13 points, four rebounds and five assists, both in starting roles.
Nick Ruthsatz tallied seven points, four rebounds and a career-high nine assists, topping his previous high of eight.
Martyce Kimbrough had six points on two 3-pointers and dished out four assists.
The Oilers held a 48-25 edge in rebounding and outscored the Mustangs 72-32 in the paint.
Elijah Ingram led the Mustangs with 21 points, Isaac Gillum added 16 points off the bench and Diante Taylor had 14 points and six rebounds.
“This is a good game for us to take into (holiday) break,” Ernst said. “We have some guys with renewed confidence in themselves and we’re going to need that. We’ve got a daunting schedule ahead of us.”
The Oilers won’t play again until 2016, when they travel into Michigan for a pair of GLIAC games against Ferris State (Jan. 2) and Grand Valley State (Jan. 3).
After that stretch, six of their eight remaining January games, all in the GLIAC, will be at Croy.
“We have to have an identity and we’re starting to get toward that,” Ernst said. “We’re starting to get a rotation down. I still don’t think we’re shooting it as well as we’re capable. We’re a better shooting team than (7 of 18 from 3-point range).
“We’re getting better inside. We’re not a team that relies on threes anymore.”
Ingram 7-10 3-4 21, Davis 2-5 0-0 4, Taylor 6-14 0-4 14, Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Sykes 5-12 1-2 12, Simmons III 1-1 0-0 2, Green 1-4 2-2 4, Napier 1-2 0-0 2, Gillum 5-14 5-6 16. TOTALS: 29-66 11-18–77.
Sullivan 6-9 1-1 13, Staley 6-7 2-3 14, Gardner 0-0 0-0 0, Kimbrough 2-8 6, Kaufman 7-8 1-1 17, Ruthsatz 3-6 0-1 7, Singleton 5-7 1-2 12, Kahlig 3-7 0-0 7, Stern-Tucker 4-5 3-3 11, Arens 3-3 2-2 8, White 8-12 0-0 16, Garverick 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 47-77 10-13–111.
3-Point GOALS: Marygrove 8-21 (Ingram 4-6, Taylor 2-5, Miller 0-1, Sykes 1-5, Green 0-2, Gillum 1-2); Findlay 7-18 (Sullivan 0-1, Kimbrough 2-6, Kaufman 2-3, Ruthsatz 1-2, Singleton 1-1, Kahlig 1-5).
rebounds: Marygrove 25 (Taylor 6); Findlay 48 (White 9).
ASSISTS: Marygrove 10 (Ingram & Davis 2); Findlay 28 (Ruthsatz 9).
STEALS: Marygrove 6 (Ingram & Simmons III); Findlay 8.
BLOCKS: Marygrove 0; Findlay 4 (White 2).
TURNOVERS: Marygrove 14; Findlay 12.
TOTAL FOULS: Marygrove 14; Findlay 14.
FOULED OUT: none.
HALFTIME: Findlay, 58-34.
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