TIFFIN, Ohio - The No.1-ranked Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team finished a two-game road trip with a Saturday (Dec. 10) afternoon matchup with GLIAC foe Tiffin University. The Cardinals tied the game at 48 with 12:55 to play, but were outscored 38-28 in the final 13 minutes of play by Tiffin, snapping the nine game win streak with a final socre of 82-76.
The Cardinals scored the first points of the game with a layup by Garrett Hall. Tiffin would then start out on an 8-2 run before Hall hit a three pointer to cut its deficit to three. Saginaw Valley quickly regained the lead with baskets from Wade Gelhaus, Malik Garner and Richie Roberts, who gave SVSU the 13-8 edge.
The five point lead would be SVSU's largest in the first half. The Dragons exited the first media timeout with a 9-4 scoring run, regaining the lead over the Cardinals with a 22-17 score. Caleb Davis scored on a jumper that made it a one possession game until Tiffin responded with a made layup on the other end.
SVSU trailed 27-21 with 5:05 left in the half when a made three by Garner and a basket from C.J. Turnage cut Tiffin's lead to one. The Dragons stayed never reliniquished the lead after this, hitting an open three that pushed their lead back to six. A Cardinal layup and free throw cut the lead back down to three with 2 minutes left in the half.
Tiffin would score on a layup with 14 seconds left to head into halftime by a 38-31 margin.
Saginaw Valley started with the ball to begin the second half and would score on a Davis three-pointer. Tiffin would knock down an open jumper for its first points of the half, making the score 40-34. A pair of offensive rebounds converted into points for Tiffin, who now led SVSU by a 48-40 score just before the media timeout. Turnage split a pair of free throws to send SVSU into the timeout down by seven.
A Devin Dixon steal prior to the media stoppage gave SVSU ball out of the break. The Cardinals mounted a comeback rally as Hall made an open layup and Garner converted on a pair of free throws to make the score 48-45. Tiffin would miss their next jump shot and was rebounded by SVSU. Roberts would pass the ball over to Garner, who found Davis driving to the basket and got his shot to count and drew the foul. Davis stepped to the free throw line and completed the three-point play, tying the game at 48-48 with 12:55 to play.
Tiffin rallied following the foul to score two straight baskets and a three pointer to take a 55-50 lead. SVSU would tie the game again at 55-55 with a Caleb Davis three, but Tiffin regained the edge once more with a two straight baskets from beyond the arc and going up 61-55 with 10:02 left in regulation.
The Cardinals were unable to secure a lead after this point. Tiffin took a 69-60 lead after making a pair of free throws, forcing SVSU to call a timeout and regroup with 4:41 to go. The Dragons remained tough on defense and grabbed a 10-point lead on a pair of free throws with 2:40 to go. Mike Wells was on the comeback trail for SVSU and hit a long three pointer to keep SVSU in the game at 73-68.
Tiffin would never let Saginaw Valley back into this game, as the Dragons gained momentum with a pair of made jumpers to take a 77-69 score into the final minute of the game.
Several late fouls sent the Dragons to the free throw line, where they would convert on five of the six attempts. The Cardinals were unable to pull off the late game comeback and dropped its first game of the 2016-17 season, ending the program-best streak of nine straight wins.
Inside the Boxscore
- Caleb Davis led the Cardinals scoring attack with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. He was tabbed as the Meijer Player of the Game.
- C.J. Turnage recorded his fourth double-double of the season. The senior forward chipped in 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. The 14 rebounds is a new career-high for the senior forward.
- Malik Garner scored 14 points, had three assists and played 31 minutes off the bench for SVSU.
- Both teams finished with 42 total rebounds. Tiffin outscored Saginaw Valley 20-5 and 33-16 in bench points.
- Saginaw Valley outscored Tiffin 18-14 on points off of turnovers. The Cardinals finished with 14 turnovers, in comparison to the Dragons 13.
- SVSU was outshot 41.7% to 47.2% in field goal percentage.
SVSU returns to University Center to face-off with Ohio Dominican in the final GLIAC doubleheader before the holiday break. Tip-off for this matchup with the Panthers is set for 3 pm.
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