Local Sports from The Courier
Thursday, January 17, 2013GLIAC Basketball: Ashland up next for Oilers
There is no line for effort and intensity in a box score, but both play such an important role in success.
So as the University of Findlay men's basketball team went into practice this week, the disappointment of a stunning 57-55 loss at home to Tiffin University still fresh in its mind, head coach Charlie Ernst expected the Oilers to bounce back.
"We were disappointed and frustrated about the loss, especially losing at home in a (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) South Division game," Ernst said. "But I saw the right response in our players in practice. They are winners and they know that it all starts with effort."
Findlay will need to bring its best effort to the floor at 5:30 p.m. tonight when it squares off against rival Ashland University in a division encounter at Kates Gymnasium.
Playing on the road is tough, and the fact that the Oilers (10-4, 7-3 GLIAC) are up against a rival only adds to the difficulty of it. Last season, the Oilers were blasted 94-80 at Ashland. It was the most points allowed in a game by Findlay all season.
"They put it to us and they have a lot of those same guys back," Ernst said. "They are a very good team and they are still in the hunt for a conference tournament spot. They have a lot to play for and this will be a tough game. In no way are we selling this game short to our players."
Ashland has struggled, losing its last four games, but the Eagles (4-9, 2-8) have played a lot of close contests with eight decided by 10 points or less and Ashland is 1-7 in those contests. But the Eagles, who are averaging 65.9 points per outing and allowing 67.5, are 4-2 at home.
"There is such a fine line between winning and losing in this conference," Ernst said. "We can't pay attention to their record. They have very good players and they will be ready to play us."
The Eagles are coming off a 73-65 loss to Malone on Saturday. Evan Yates scored 21 points and pulled down 15 rebounds while Will Evans dropped in 17 points.
Yates, a senior forward, is averaging 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while Evans, a junior forward, is averaging 9.7 points.
The Eagles have hit 90 3-pointers and are shooting 42.8 percent from the field.
The game against Ashland kicks off three consecutive road games for the Oilers, who have a one-game lead in the division and are tied for third overall in the conference standings.
Findlay comes in averaging 73.5 points and is holding teams to 63.6 ppg. The Oilers are shooting 42.2 percent from the floor but shot only 22.2 percent in the loss to the Dragons on Saturday.
The Oilers are in a position where every game has added importance because of how tight the conference standings are.
"We need to find road wins, and to be able to have a chance to win games on the road, we have to play hard and give a great effort," Ernst said.
As for the Findlay women's team, it will face its most daunting task of the season when it takes on top-ranked and unbeaten Ashland (17-0, 10-0) at 7:30 p.m. at Kates Gymnasium.
The Oilers (11-3, 8-2) have won five consecutive games and are in second place in the South Division behind the Eagles, who have won 42 straight games in the regular season and were the 2012 national runner-up.
"We're excited about it," Findlay head coach Kate Cummings said. "Our style is a thorn in their side. They don't like to play the way we do. There is no pressure on us."
The Oilers rely on a style where everyone plays and where the focus is on creating turnovers. Findlay has forced 343 turnovers on the season and former Riverdale standout Kayla Brown has anchored the defensive attack with 42 steals.
Brown, a senior guard/forward is also the leading scorer for Findlay, pouring in 19 points per outing, while senior forward Tai Dotson is averaging 10.4 ppg.
The Oilers are shooting 41.8 percent from the field and holding opponents to 37.8 percent shooting.
"We have to play with a lot of intensity in our press, keep pressure in the quarter-court and keep hands in everyone's face," Cummings said. "We want to push the tempo and we will have to gamble a bit in our press. We can't be passive."
The Eagles have five players averaging at least eight points per outing and are led by senior forward Kari Daugherty (23.2 ppg, 15.5 rpg), who has an NCAA-record 34 consecutive double-doubles.
The Eagles won both meetings against Findlay last year and have not lost to the Oilers since the 2010-11 season when they were swept in the season series. Findlay went on to win the division title that year.
Other GLIAC encounters scheduled for tonight are Grand Valley State at Lake Superior State, Wayne State at Michigan Tech, Saginaw Valley at Northern Michigan and Ferris State at Northwood in the North Division and Walsh at Ohio Dominican, Hillsdale at Lake Erie and Malone at Tiffin in the South.
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