Local Sports

Friday, January 03, 2014

College Basketball: UF sustains painful loss at Ferris St.
By BRIAN LESTER

Staff Writer

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- University of Findlay head men's basketball coach Charlie Ernst wasn't going to deny the pain that came with an 85-81 loss to Ferris State Thursday night at Jim Wink Arena.

It hurt, both the coaches and the players.

"This is one of those nights where the loss really stings, there is such a fine line between winning and losing," Ernst said. "But give Ferris State credit. They played very well and found a way to get the win."

The Oilers led 37-25 at one point in the first half and went into halftime tied at 39-39 with the Bulldogs in a tightly-contested game between two of the top teams in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

When Greg Kahlig nailed a 3-pointer with 1:33 left in the game, the Oilers (7-2, 3-2 GLIAC) had a 77-74 advantage. But back-to-back layups by Drew Lehman gave the Bulldogs (6-3, 5-0) a 78-77 lead and seven straight free throws over the final 21 seconds sealed the deal.

Ernst said a lot of the little things added up. The Oilers were outrebounded 42-36, outscored 19-14 in second-chance points and turned the ball over 15 times while forcing 16 turnovers.

"We continued to put ourselves in a position to win and did a lot of good things, but we just had too many little things that hurt us," Ernst said. "Whether it was a defensive breakdown, or a turnover, or giving up a rebound, we had some little things that cost us in a tight game."

UF shot 44.6 percent (29 of 65) from the field and had four starters finish in double figures. Kahlig paved the way with 21 points while Dylan Kaufman netted 15 points.

Alphonso Baity added 13 points while Jake Heagen had a solid all-around game, scoring 10 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists.

Ricardo Smith and John Staley scored eight points apiece off the bench.

"We did play well offensively, but you can't always rely on your offense to win a game, especially on the road," Ernst said. "You have to be able to rely on your defense at times. Maybe we should have mixed up defenses more, but Ferris State did hit some difficult shots, too. I give them credit."

The Oilers didn't get off to a good start as they fell behind 10-2 in the opening two minutes behind 3-pointers from Lehman and Josh Fleming.

Yet, UF roared back to life and tied the game at 12-12 on a layup by Staley with 14:58 remaining in the half. Moments later, Kaufman scored on a layup for a 14-12 lead.

Jake Heagen's layup with 6:53 to play in the half gave the Oilers a 35-25 lead and UF took its biggest lead of the game at 37-25 on a layup by Quaran Jones with 5:02 until the break.

Ferris State battled back, though, and closed the half on a 14-2 run. Matt Poches, who finished with 19 points, fueled the run with seven points, including two on a layup that tied the score at 39-39 with 48 seconds to play.

The second half was a back-and-forth battle as neither team could separate itself from the other. The biggest lead for the Oilers was six when Smith scored on a layup for a 58-52 lead with 9:55 remaining.

Lehman finished with 16 points to lead Ferris State. Fleming scored 13 points and Jibreel Jackson scored 12 as the Bulldogs won to take control of first place overall in the league standings.

UF will try and rebound Saturday when it battles Grand Valley State in a 3 p.m. GLIAC game at the GVSU Fieldhouse in Allendale, Mich. The Lakers (8-1, 4-1) were beaten 68-66 by Hillsdale on Thursday.

"We are going to learn a lot about our team on Saturday," Ernst said. "We have to put this behind us and not feel sorry for ourselves. We have to come out with our best effort and be ready to play against another very good opponent."



FINDLAY (7-2, 3-2 GLIAC)

Heagen 3-6 3-4 10, Kahlig 5-13 10-10 21, Frilling 0-8 0-0 0, Baity 4-10 4-4 13, Kaufman 7-10 0-0 15, Gardner 1-4 0-0 2, Samsel 0-1 0-1 0, Smith 3-4 2-4 8, Staley 4-5 0-0 8, Jones 2-4 0-0 4. TOTALS: 29-65 19-23--81.

Ferris State (6-3 5-0 GLIAC)

Fleming 4-10 3-4 13, Poches 6-11 6-6 19, Stolicker 2-5 0-0 4, Lever 2-12 2-2 6, Lehman 6-9 3-3 16, Cribbs 2-3 0-0 4, Jackson 4-11 3-4 12, Chilcote 0-1 0-0 0, Stoll 2-3 0-0 5, McAfee 2-3 2-2 6. TOTALS: 30-68 19-21--85.

HALFTIME: Tied, 39-39.

3-Point GOALS: Findlay 4-14 (Heagen 1-3, Kahlig 1-3, Baity 1-3, Kaufman 1-3, Gardner 0-1, Samsel 0-1); Ferris State 6-15 (Fleming 2-4, Poches 1-2, Lever 0-3, Lehman 1-2, Jackson 1-2, Stoll 1-2).

rebounds: Findlay 36 (Heagen 9); Ferris State 42 (McAfee 8).

turnovers: Ferris State 16, Findlay 15.

ASSISTS: Ferris State 16 (Lever 6); Findlay 14 (Heagen 5).

STEALS: Ferris State 12 (Lever 4); Findlay 10 (Kaufman 3).

BLOCKS: Ferris State 12 (Fleming 5); Findlay 12 (Fleming 5).

FOULS: Findlay 17, Ferris State 16.

FOULED OUT: None.

Lester, 419-422-5151

brianlester@thecourier.com


Subscribe to The Courier.