No. 24 Oilers Fend Off Cardinals, 64-56

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team was defeated today (Jan. 3) in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contest against the #24 ranked University of Findlay, 64-56. With the loss, the Cardinals fall to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in GLIAC play, while the Oilers improve to 9-2 and 6-1 in the GLIAC. 

Saginaw Valley got out to an early 4-2 lead after a pair of layups by Rob Clark (Saginaw, Mich. / Saginaw HS). The Cardinals extended their lead to 5-2 after a made free throw by Jay Thames (Port Huron, Mich. / Port Huron Northern HS) with 16:48 to play in the opening half. However, missed shots and a physical Oiler defense allowed Findlay to go on a 13-0 run and take the 15-5 lead with 12:16 to play in the opening half.

SVSU cut the lead to nine (18-9) on a pair of free throws by Chris Webb (Saginaw, Mich. / Arthur Hill HS) with 9:05 remaining in the first half. However, the Cardinals were unable to knock down open looks against the Oiler zone defense and went into the halftime intermission trailing 28-18.

For the first half, Saginaw Valley went 7-of-26 (27 percent) from the floor, while Findlay shot 50 percent on 12-of-24 shooting. The Cardinals were also outscored 13-4 in bench points.

Saginaw Valley opened the second half scoring on a Meijer 'Player of the Game' Kellen Smith (Covington, Kentucky / Scott HS) layup to cut the lead to 28-20 with 18:16 remaining in the contest.

The Cardinals maintained the eight point deficit on a Vincent Adams (Flint, Mich. / Powers Catholic HS) layup with 12:11 left in the game.

A late surge by Saginaw Valley, capped by a Brett Beland (Menominee, Mich. / Menominee HS) layup, pulled the Cardinals within five (58-53) with 1:07 to play. Beland finished the game with 12 points and a team-high four steals. However, the ball would roll the the other way for Saginaw Valley as they eventually fell to Findlay 56-64.

For the game, the Cardinals shot 39 percent (24-for-61) while allowing the Oilers to go 23-for-44 (52 percent). Saginaw Valley's bench was also outscored 28-9 and the Cardinals were edged 14-4 on second chance points to allow #24 Findlay to come away with the win.

Chris Webb finished the contest with team-high 13 points and five rebounds. Kellen Smith had a strong performance on the evening, chipping in a season-high 10 points and a team-high six assists. 

The Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team will return to action Saturday (Jan. 5) at 5:00 PM as they play host Hillsdale College.