3.2.12 MEN'S BASKETBALL: Cavs Defeat Central State 77-73 in OIC Semis; Face Cedarville in Final

Men's Basketball, 2012-03-02

Five players scored in double figures as No. 2 Walsh defeated No. 3 Central State 77-73 in the semifinals of the Ohio Independent Championships at Cedarville, Ohio Friday afternoon. The Cavaliers (25-5) now move on to the OIC title game against No. 1 Cedarville University. Cedarville held off Urbana University 77-74 in the other semifinal.  Walsh and Cedarville split the season series.  The Marauders end their season at 19-9.

It was a close game for the majority of the contest with neither team obtaining a lead of more than 10 points. Walsh had a 10-point lead at two points during the game for a combined 36 seconds.

It took nearly three minutes for either team to score to start the game, but the Cavs finally got on the scoreboard when Cameron Mitchell (So., 6-4, Cincinnati, OH/Taft) scored on a layup. The Cavs never trailed during the first half despite missing their first seven shots and shooting 34.3 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Walsh took its first double-digit lead following a jumper by Rian Burrell (Fr., 6-3, Zanesville, OH/HS) on the assist from Jeff Copeland (Fr., 6-5, Toledo, OH/St. John’s Jesuit) that made the score 32-22 with 4:04 left in the first half. Central State answered with a pair of baskets before Walsh pushed the lead back to 10 on a couple free throws by Ron Kinney (Sr., 6-7, Cleveland, OH/Rhodes/Charleston) with 1:46 to go in the half.

The Marauders started to peak at that time as they went on an 11-0 run to close the half and start the second to take their first lead of the game at 37-36. The teams exchanged two points before Central State started its strongest run of the game. Walsh didn’t regain the lead again for nearly a 10-minute stretch that saw the Marauders take their largest lead of five.

With 6:50 remaining in the game, Burrell scored on a layup and earned three points the old fashioned way to give the Cavaliers the lead once again at 57-54. After Central State tied it with a three-pointer, Kinney gave the Cavs the lead for good on a layup.

Central State put Walsh at the foul line numerous times during the remainder of the game, but couldn’t take advantage at any time.

Kinney paced the offense with 17 points. L.J. Sutton (Sr., 6-7, Youngstown, OH/Cardinal Mooney) recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Burrell tied Sutton with 14 points, while Brad DuPont (So., 6-0, Massillon, OH/Jackson/Wheeling Jesuit) scored 13 points and Copeland scored 11 points to round out the double-figure scorers. Central State's Gerald Campbell led all scorers with 26 markers.

The Cavs have now won five straight games and 13 of their last 15. They remain undefeated on neutral floors with a 7-0 record. Central State advanced to today's semifinal with a 75-65 win at home over Notre Dame College on Tuesday night.

Walsh returns to action tomorrow evening in the OIC finals against either Urbana or Cedarville. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast by Jim Clark on 640 AM WHLO.


Cedarville Game - The teams split two regular season games with Walsh winning 73-72 at home, while the Yellow Jackets won 71-55 at Cedarville on February 11.  Walsh has won five straight games, the Cedarville loss was their last defeat.  Walsh leads the all-time series 43-39.

Walsh has won 13 of 15 games and the Jackets have won 9 of 10 games.

Walsh head coach Jeff Young (222-44) has a post season record of 25-7 in eight years.  The last time Walsh won the final game of the season was in 2005, when they defeated Concordia 81-70 to win the NAIA National Championship.  In the last 25 years the Cavs have won the last game of the season twice.  The other season finale win came under head coach Dan Peters in 1986 when they won 70-69 at Cedarville.

Walsh is 50-29 in post season games and 14-7 in championship games.  The Cavs defeated Cedarville 80-60 at Walsh in the AMC Championship game last year. The Cavs have played in Mid-Ohio Conference, District 22, American Mideast Conference, NAIA and now OIC championship games.