The University of Findlay men's basketball team claimed a 72-66 win over Grand Valley State University on Wednesday, Feb. 29 during the first round of the 2012 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament in Croy Gymnasium. The victory gives the Oilers a 21-6 record on the season as they advance to the semifinals, which will be hosted by Hillsdale College on Saturday, March 3.
The Oilers made only five field goals in the first half, but hit 18 free throws en route to a 30-29 lead at the break. Findlay then built an eight-point lead at 54-46 with 7:40 remaining, but the Lakers battled back to tie the game for the 15th time at 59-59 with just over four minutes to play.
Narrowly holding a 62-61 lead with 2:12 left, junior forward Jack Smith connected on a triple to give Findlay a 65-61 advantage with 1:47 remaining in the game. The Oilers would then close out the game at the charity stripe, hitting 7-of-8 down the stretch to claim the victory.
The Oilers shot only 38.5 percent (15-of-39) from the field, but connected on a season-high 36-of-41 (87.8%) shots from the free throw line.
The Lakers meanwhile hit 51 percent (25-of-49) of their shots and held a 28-24 advantage on the boards.
Senior guard Kyle Caiola continued his hot streak with 25 points. The Parma, Ohio native hit only 2-of-3 shots from the field, but converted a school record 19-of-20 free throw attempts.
Caiola, who is hitting 92.4 percent of his free throw attempts on the season, bettered the school record of 17 made free throws by Randy Kortokrax who accomplished the feat against Cedarville University on March 2, 1987.
Sophomore forward Greg Kahlig added 13 points and six rebounds while Smith came off the bench to provide 12 points and six boards.
The Lakers were led by Tony Peters' 15 points.
The Oilers will now face Wayne State University in the second round of the GLIAC Tournament. The contest is scheduled to take place on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Hillsdale, Michigan.