The University of Findlay men's basketball team, ranked seventh in the nation, knocked off sixth ranked West Liberty State University by a score of 84-80 in overtime on Thursday, November 17 in West Liberty, West Virginia.
A few days after the Oilers lost at home for the first time in 71 games, Findlay stopped the Hilltoppers home winning streak at 49 games by slowing down the fast paced style of West Liberty with poise and toughness on both ends of the floor.
The Oilers jumped out to a 41-37 lead at the break and then continued to battle in the second half and were down 70-69 with 1:08 to play in regulation before sophomore forward Greg Kahlig hit a pair of free throws.
The Hilltoppers went up by one after splitting a pair of free throws before senior guard Kyle Caiola connected on two shots from the charity stripe to make the score 73-71 with 50 seconds left.
West Liberty tied the game at the line on the ensuing possession, but Caiola connected on a lay-up to give Findlay the lead with 18 seconds remaining.
Needing to get a stop, the Oilers unfortunately fouled and Chris Morrow hit a pair of shots from the line to tie the game and send the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Oilers built a 81-75 lead on a pair of free throws from junior guard Aaron Robinson at the 1:53 mark, before the Hilltoppers scored twice to come within one point at 81-80 with only 43 ticks remaining in the extra session.
After a missed jumper by sophomore guard Sean Samsel, the Hilltoppers raced down the floor on a fast break and had an open lay-up before Kahlig came out of nowhere to reject the shot and haul in the rebound before getting fouled.
Kahlig then hit both free throws to make the score 83-80 in favor of the Oilers with nine seconds remaining and junior forward Jack Smith iced the game by hitting 1-of-2 from the charity stripe after hauling in a defensive rebound with five ticks left.
Freshman forward Jake Heagen led the Oilers with a career-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
Junior forward Brad Piehl added 15 points while Caiola scored 14.
Kahlig added 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds and five blocks while Smith registered a career-best 12 boards in the win.
As a team, the Oilers shot 48.3 percent (29-of-60) from the floor and drained 6-of-14 (42.9%) shots from behind the three point line.
The Oilers held the Hilltoppers to a mere 30.5 percent (25-of-82) shooting clip, but West Liberty did grab 24 offensive rebounds in the game.
Cedric Harris led the team with 21 points.
The Oilers will be back in action again on Tuesday, November 22 when they host Cedarville University at 7:30 pm in Croy Gymnasium.