Romeoville, Ill. – The entire offseason Findlay was reminded of all the points that were lost to graduation. Nearly 4,500 of them. But on Saturday, March 16, the 2018-19 edition of the Findlay Oilers, seeded third in the NCAA DII Midwest Regional, took down Drury to advance to the Round of 32, just as they did a season ago. With the 71-66 victory in the first round, the Oilers now have a record of 28-4, the sixth time in the history of the storied program that a team has reached the 28-win plateau. The Drury Panthers bow out of the tournament with a record of 21-12.
A pair of moments stand out from Saturday's contest, the first of which came as the first half came to a close. Trailing 29-23 with five minutes to play in the first half, sophomore Anthony Masterlasco made a layup to cut the score to 29-25 and junior Aaron Overhiser scored four straight points of his own to give the third-seeded Oilers a 30-29 lead heading into the break.
The second big moment of the game happened with less than a minute to play. Drury battled back from a nine-point deficit with 5:47 to play and took the lead at 66-65 with just 1:10 to play in the game. 27 seconds later, Masterlasco hit the biggest shot of his young career, a three-pointer from the right wing that propelled the Oilers to a 68-66 lead with 43 ticks on the clock.
Findlay hit three free-throws down the stretch to seal the victory and move on in the win-or-go-home tournament.
The Oilers edged the Panthers in shooting percentage, hitting on 24-of-53 (.453) shots while Drury made 23-of-53 (.434). Findlay made 5-of-20 (.250) from beyond the arc and made 18-of-25 from the charity stripe.
Findlay outrebounded Drury 33-to-27 while each team had ten assists and 13 turnovers. The Oilers had ten steals.
Aaron Overhiser played big for Findlay against the Panthers, whose tallest starter was 6'4". The junior from South Haven, Michigan poured in a team-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a pair of triples, and grabbed a team-high six rebounds. He also hit 5-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Senior guard Trey Smith also played well for the Oilers, scoring 16 points in the game. He had a pair of assists and two rebounds as well while sophomore Tommy Schmock led the team with four assists. Schmock also had four boards and two steals.
The final player in double figures was senior Alex White who, despite battling foul trouble, scored 11 points and had four rebounds.
Masterlasco scored nine points and made the only triple he attempted. He also had two steals. Off the bench, freshman Ethan Linder scored eight points, had four rebounds, and led the team with three steals. He canned 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Findlay will take on the winner of no. 7 Bellarmine and Walsh. That game will tip on Sunday, March 17 at 6:00 pm (EST).