FINDLAY, Ohio – The Walsh Cavaliers men's basketball had to use five extra minutes to wear down the sixth ranked Findlay Oilers in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Tournament final on Saturday (March 9).
The Cavaliers defeated the Oilers 58-52 in overtime for their 13th straight win and first tournament title since joining Division II.
Findlay got off to a fast start with an 8-2 run over the first three minutes of the game. Walsh gained the 9-8 advantage when Darryl Straughter capped a 7-0 run with a three pointer of his own. After Findlay took a 10-9 lead with 13 minutes left in the half, Walsh went on a 9-0 rally with JT Shumate scoring four points. The Cavaliers led 18-10 with eight minutes left before halftime. The Oilers closed the gap to three but the Cavaliers led 28-22 at the intermission.
Caleb Canter made a three pointer and Shumate added a free throw as the Cavaliers pushed the lead 32-23 two and a half minutes into the second half. Findlay took a 35-32 lead with a 12-0 run that spanned nearly nine minutes. Shumate tied the game at 35 with a three-point play. The Oilers regained a five-point lead until Reece Bogan made a three and Straughter followed with a jumper, tying the game at 40. The game was tied four times in the final six minutes, leading to overtime with the game knotted at 46.
Findlay gained a four-point lead in overtime until Straughter responded with two straight buckets. Trailing by one with two minutes to go, it became the Caleb Canter show as he scored the final eight points for the Cavaliers. He took the lead with a three pointer with 1:38 and iced the game with a three-point play with nine seconds left. He added a pair of free throws just seconds later, clinching the Cavaliers' ticket to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time.
Shumate led the Cavaliers with 16 points. Straughter finished with 14 points along with eight rebounds. Canter had 11 points total after his eight-point spurt in overtime. Sterling Christy was just shy of a triple-double as he had ten points, 13 rebounds and a conference record nine blocks.
The Cavaliers will see where and who they play on the NCAA Division II selection show at 10:30 PM on Sunday (March 10).