By John Bombatch
WILBERFORCE — Cedarville just hung around and hung around, during Thursday’s inaugural Greene County Appreciation Night men’s college basketball game, and the Yellow Jackets faithful were probably the most appreciative fans in the the Beacom/Lewis Gymnasium.
Cedarville grabbed its first lead of the game with three minutes left to play (63-62) on a J.C. Faubion jumper, and the Yellow Jackets stayed out front the rest of the way, for a come-from-behind 68-65 win.
“That was really a testament to our guys starting to grow up,” Cedarville coach Pat Estepp said, as his players gnoshed on pizzas and whooped it up in the visiting locker room. “We’ve got seven freshmen and sophomores out there, and three juniors playing. I felt like we’d been getting a little better every week, and tonight … we didn’t crack. I thought we showed a lot of poise down the stretch. (Central State) is a handful, but I thought we made some plays when we really needed to.”
Estepp mentioned Patrick Bain’s big shot (that tied the game at 59-all with just over four minutes to play.
“And Linkous hits from in the lane on a little slice cut … the game was on the boards. I don’t know if we have ever out-rebounded a Central State team, let alone by 15 rebounds. That was huge for us tonight, to have all those second-chance tries,” he said.
Cedarville outrebounded Central State by a 40-25 margin. And they hauled in 16 offensive rebounds, to just five for the Marauders.
Bain and Faubion each finished with game-high totals of 17 points to lead the Yellow Jackets (8-9). Estepp was quick to point out Robert Okoro’s 12-rebound effort, eight of which were offensive boards. Faubion, who leads Cedarville with a 16.1 points per game average, had been held to two points in the first half.
Central State coach Joseph Price was disappointed that his Marauders just couldn’t put Cedarville away whenever his team would flirt with a double-digit lead.
“We had a couple opportunities where we were up 7, 8, 10 points, and we just couldn’t get over that hump and put them out. We had a couple really good looks, and I thought if we could’ve made those shot opportunities that we could’ve been in a position where we could’ve put them out. Unfortunately, we didn’t make those shots when we needed them.
And then we didn’t make stops when we needed to make them. Cedarville did a great job of executing down the stretch,” Price said.
Tre’ Edwards led Central State (5-9) with 15 points scored, and Hosie Smith Jr. finished with 13, but Smith Jr’s 3-pointer with 23.2 seconds left to play was the only CSU score in the final three minutes of play. Edwards came into the game as CSU’s leading scorer with 13.2 points per game.
Central State will host another neighborhood foe on Monday. The Marauders host Wilberforce at 8 p.m. Monday in the Beacom/Lewis Gymnasium. Cedarville has its next game on Thursday when they travel to West Virginia to take on Davis-Elkins University.
John Bombatch can be reached at (937) 372-4444, Ext. 2123.