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Thursday, January 10, 2013GLIAC Basketball: UF squad works on rectifying miscues
Brad Piehl has found a rhythm on offense.
In the last five games, the University of Findlay senior forward has scored in double figures, raising his average and boosting his confidence.
"It's all about not hesitating and just going with it. If I have a good shot, I'll take it," Piehl said. "And now that we are into the heart of conference play, I know I have to do what I can to step up and help out the team."
Piehl has scored in double figures eight times this season and is averaging 11.9 points per game, while shooting 48.4 percent from the floor.
He could easily enter this week feeling a little shaken by a moment he wasn't able to seize.
In the frenzied final seconds of regulation of a pivotal Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game against Wayne State on Saturday, Piehl missed a game winner.
His shot in the lane appeared to be right on target, but the ball bounced a little too hard off the glass. The Oilers lost 65-61 in overtime, snapping a five-game win streak.
Piehl is a veteran who understands that one moment doesn't make or break you and is ready for the next challenge, a 6 p.m. GLIAC tilt today against Ohio Dominican at Croy Gymnasium.
"I had a few shots in that game that I thought were right there and were going in, but you can't worry about it," Piehl said. "As long as I continue to get good shots, I'll continue to take them."
The Oilers (9-3, 6-2 GLIAC), who have dropped from the NCAA Division II poll, are eager to get back on track as they continue their quest for a conference title. They come in with a two-game lead in the South Division and focused on cleaning up a turnover issue that plagued them in the loss to the Warriors.
Findlay turned the ball over 23 times and Wayne State scored 25 points off those miscues. The Oilers have 45 turnovers in their last two games, a surprising number for a UF team that has had 12 turnovers or less in a game seven times this season.
"It's a matter of the guys valuing the ball," UF head coach Charlie Ernst said. "Our guys understand that we have to handle the ball better, and if we do that and continue to do the other things right, we are going to be tough to beat."
Piehl said he and his teammates have put a lot of emphasis of cutting down on turnovers in practice.
"It's all about being focused mentally and doing a better job of running our offense," Piehl said. "As long as we help each other out and work together, we will eliminate those turnovers."
ODU (3-10, 0-8) has lost its last nine games, including a 77-60 road setback to Northwood on Saturday.
Morgan Jones scored 18 points and is averaging 17.4 points per outing. The senior guard has drained 23 3-pointers and has dished out 59 assists.
Sophomore center Bobby Stauffer is averaging 12.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, while former Findlay High standout Brock Ammons is in his second year with Ohio Dominican and is averaging 2.4 points per game.
The biggest issue for the Oilers is making sure the Panthers don't gain any confidence and playing hard defensively. The Oilers are giving up 64.7 ppg and have held nine of their last 11 opponents to 70 or less.
"You don't want them to string possessions together and score four times in a row," Ernst said. "It all starts with defense for us. It drains the life out of teams."
UF sits two games out of the top spot in the overall conference standings and still has time to make up ground in the chase to host the GLIAC tournament in March.
Piehl, who helped lead New Knoxville to a state championship in 2008, said being a senior has played a part in his recent success and he knows taking care of business tonight and on Saturday against Tiffin is important.
"You want to do the best you can every night and you don't want to take any team lightly," Piehl said. "We have to be ready to play. It all comes down to how bad we want this game."
While the men's team looks to bounce back, the Findlay women's team will be gunning for its fourth consecutive win. The Oilers (9-3, 6-2) are in second place in the South Division and have are tied with Michigan Tech for the third-best conference record overall.
The Oilers will be up against an Ohio Dominican team that has lost seven of its last eight games. The Panthers (4-7, 1-7) were beaten 66-59 by Northwood on Saturday and are led by sophomore Kacee Hockenberry (13.9 ppg) and junior forward Katelyn Stuckey (13.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg).
UF continues to rely on a balanced attack that is producing 74 points per game. Former Riverdale standout Kayla Brown has led the way, averaging 19.6 ppg. Tai Dotson (10.3 ppg) and Riverdale grad Lacey Kessler (6.8 ppg) are key offensive threats as well.
In other GLIAC action tonight, Ashland is at Walsh, Michigan Tech goes to Ferris State, Lake Erie is at Malone, Saginaw Valley State hosts Lake Superior State, Hillsdale goes to Tiffin, Northern Michigan is at Grand Valley State and Northwood travels to Wayne State.
On Saturday, Northwood entertains Lake Superior State, Saginaw Valley State is at Wayne State, Lake Erie goes to Walsh, Northern Michigan is at Ferris State, Malone hosts Ashland, Michigan Tech is at Grand Valley State and Ohio Dominican travels to Hillsdale.
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