3.3.12 MEN'S BASKETBALL: Cavs Claim OIC Title With Overtime Thriller at Cedarville

Men's Basketball, 2012-03-03

For the third time in the past 26 seasons, Walsh won its final game of the season with a 78-77 overtime victory over Cedarville in the title game of the Ohio Independent Championships. The Cavaliers (26-5) avenged a 71-55 loss to the hosting Yellow Jackets (19-9) on February 11.

Walsh played from behind for the majority of the game and didn’t see the lead until 2:01 left in the second half. Meanwhile, Cedarville had a few opportunities to blow the game open with double-digit leads in the period. The last of which came with 12:03 left as the Jackets held a 56-45 advantage. It was then that the Cavs went on an 11-0 run capped by a pair of three-pointers by Ron Kinney (Sr., 6-7, Cleveland, OH/Rhodes) and Rian Burrell (Fr., 6-3, Zanesville, OH/HS) to tie the game.

Still, Cedarville threatened again with a four-point lead at 65-61 with 3:11 to go. L.J. Sutton (Sr., 6-7, Youngstown, OH/Cardinal Mooney) followed up with a pair of free throws before a three by Brad DuPont (So., 6-0, Massillon, OH/Jackson/Wheeling Jesuit) gave the Cavs its first lead at 66-65. The two teams exchanged baskets after and Cedarville tied the game at 68 with a foul shot to close the regulation scoring. Both squads had opportunities to win the game, but could not take advantage.

In overtime, Cedarville hit its first shot to take its last lead. Walsh answered with a free throw by Sutton and a layup by Burrell to go up 71-70 with 2:49 to go. Those points also were the start of a 8-0 run by the Cavaliers that also included a three by DuPont and a layup by Kinney.

The Yellow Jackets answered with a three-pointer and layup of its own to cut the deficit to one. The hosts then fouled Burrell, who sunk both shots from the charity stripe. A three-pointer by Cedarville missed its mark with four seconds left only to be followed up with a two-point jumper at the buzzer to close out the scoring and seal the championship for the Cavaliers.

Walsh had four players in double-figures with Burrell leading the way with 17 points. Kinney, Sutton, and DuPont all finished with 15 points. DuPont led the team in assists and steals with four each. Cedarville also had four players in double figures and were led by Brian Grant with 18 points. Walsh trailed 38-35 at halftime.

The Ohio Independent Championship is a one year event involving teams in the process of joining NCAA Division II and current NCAA Division II independent institutions in Ohio. Walsh will be a full member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference starting in July. Cedarville will be a founding member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference recently approved by the NCAA.

The last time Walsh ended the season with a win was in 2005 after winning the NAIA Division II national championship. The other came in 1986, a 70-69 win at Cedarville. Walsh now has had at least 26 wins every season since Jeff Young became head coach in 2004-2005.