SVSU men’s basketball team was named the No. 1 ranked team in Division II for the first time in program history on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the Tiffin Dragons handed SVSU their first loss of the season after a program record nine-game win streak.
Tiffin started the game on an 8-2 run, and even though the Cardinals would eventually retake the lead with a 13-8 advantage over the Dragons, SVSU could not overcome the Tiffin attack.
Fueled by 50 percent three-point shooting, the Dragons seemingly answered every score by the nation’s no. 1 ranked team.
Both teams continued to battle back and forth until a Caleb Davis three-pointer evened the score at 55 in the second half.
Tiffin then pushed the lead to nine points and put SVSU away by making 11 of their 12 free throws in the last four minutes of the game, winning 82-76.
“Tiffin played a very good game (Saturday), they earned the win,” head coach Randy Baruth said. “We have some things we need to look at and get better from.”
Kynard scored 23 points for the Dragons to lead all scorers, while SVSU was led by Davis’ 17 points and senior CJ Turnage’s double-double, consisting of 14 points and 14 rebounds.
It was a different story for the Cardinals against the Ashland Eagles on Thursday night, as they came away with a 75-68 victory.
“(Thursday) was a tough road game against a strong Ashland team,” senior guard Garrett Hall said. “It was good for us to get the win, and I am glad we found a way to get the job done with a strong team effort.”
Hall led all scorers with 24 points, also adding seven rebounds and one assist.
The Cardinals started the game with strong defense, forcing Ashland to miss all of their first seven shots from the field and led the rest of the game.
The second half started similarly to the first for the Cardinals, forcing Ashland to shoot a mere 25 percent from the field. It wasn’t before a Davis three-point field goal four minutes into the second half that the offense started to flow for both teams.
With about 12 minutes left in the game, SVSU scored eight unanswered points in 40 seconds to further the Cardinal lead and shut the door on the Eagles.
Despite facing a late comeback attempt by Ashland, SVSU held on to win 75-68.
“This was a very good road win for the guys,” Baruth said. “We need to get better with some late game decisions, but that will come with time.”
The Cardinals will look to continue their successful season next weekend at home against Ohio Dominican and Central State.