By BRIAN LESTER
Men Pregame Notes
The Matchup: University of Findlay (17, 13-0 GLIAC) vs. Saginaw Valley State (5-12, 5-8 GLIAC). UF’s Last Time Out:
The Matchup: University of Findlay (17, 13-0 GLIAC) vs. Saginaw Valley State (5-12, 5-8 GLIAC).
UF’s Last Time Out:The No. 1-ranked Oilers survived their toughest test of the season Thursday night, edging Lake Superior State at Bud Cooper Gymnasium. UF trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and went into halftime down 35-30.
But the Oilers have proven they are one of the best in second halves of games and they found a way to take care of business and dodge a bullet. UF got 24 points from Josh Bostic, who is a go-to guy for the Oilers regardless of what his critics say.
The senior All-American forward scored 24 points and hit two clutch 3-pointers in the final minutes. His second trey gave the Oilers a 67-64 lead and Nathan Hyde came through with 7 points in the final minute of play to seal the deal for UF. Hyde finished with 14 points in the win.
Saginaw Valley’s Last Time Out:
Saginaw Valley’s Last Time Out:
The Cardinals were doomed from the start in its game against Hillsdale, falling behind 11-0. SVSU did trim its deficit to 31-23 at halftime but fell apart in the second half as the Cardinals lost for the first time in four games. Junior guard Dan Genther scored 16 points for the second straight game.
Notheworthy:This is the final stop on a two-game road swing for the Oilers, who can all but assure themselves of a GLIAC South Division championship with a win today.
UF owns a six-game lead over second-place Hillsdale and is well on its way to winning its seventh division crown in the last eight years. Like every other team UF has played, I expect the Cardinals to come out playing with energy. But SVSU is reeling from a 40-point loss to the Chargers and I just can’t see them playing at UF’s level for 40 minutes. It is interesting to note that LSSU probably played as well as anyone has all year against the Oilers and their phenomenal effort still wasn’t enough to produce a victory.
As expected, the Oilers were ranked No. 1 in the first Midwest Regional poll of the season. Bellarmine is second and it plans to put in a bid to host the regional by the Feb. 13th deadline. I believe this is where the rumor started about Bellarmine petitioning the NCAA to host the regional. Fear not, though, UF fans. As long as the Oilers hang onto their top spot, they will get to host the regional in March.
Southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky, St. Joseph’s, Grand Valley, Rockhurst, Kentucky Wesleyan, Hillsdale and Drury round out the top 10. Only the top eight will make the regional.
Don’t be surprised if Lake Superior enters the regional picture this week with a win over Hillsdale.
The Lakers play Hillsdale today and should win that game. I am surprised the GLIAC has three teams in the poll. Guess it goes to show that the GLIAC has earned respect because of its success in the NCAA tourney in recent years.
Check back later for live updates from James O’Neil Arena, one of the nicest facilities in the GLIAC. The sports information staff runs a first-class operiaton as well here.
Postgame: Sorry about not bringing you live updates today but I had technical difficulties. At any rate, the Oilers took out Saginaw Valley State 80-58 and all but wrapped up a South Division title. They can clinch the division Thursday against Grand Valley State at Croy Gymnasium.
Josh Bostic scored 31 points, the second time this season he has done that, and considering he pulled down 13 rebounds as well, he gave everyone another reason why he is the best player in NCAA Division II. A lot of people on message boards say UF lacks a go-to guy, but I think Bostic is a go-to-guy, and yes Spenser, he should be the Player of the Year.
For UF to beat SVSU just 48 hours after beating Lake Superior State, 76-72, is huge. The Oilers could have easily dropped a game on this two-game road swing through Michigan. Instead, they survivived both tests and head into February knowing they will play six of their remaining eight league games at home. It is still too early to talk about the Oilers running the table, though, because UF will get every team's best shot the rest of the way. Not to mention the Oilers have to go on the road in mid-February for games against Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech.
Bottom line, though, is that this UF team is ready for every challenge that will come its way and it knows it has plenty of room for improvement if it wants to accomplish its ultimate goal.