By Zach Baker
Mandy Jaeb returned to the Gillmor Center Thursday night.
Sadly for Tiffin women's basketball coach Pam Oswald and this year's squad, the Dragon legend was back as a Malone assistant, not to play.
The Dragons certainly could have used her. TU's offense struggled most of the night, turning the ball over 27 times in a 60-52 loss to the Pioneers.
In the men's game that followed, the Dragons also lost to Malone, 81-75.
The TU women got off to a decent start Thursday, taking a 16-9 advantage after a three-point play from Kaylee Patton with 10:59 left in the first half.
But the lead vanished quickly. The Dragons began turning the ball over, and stopped making shots. Malone finished the half on a 19-5 run, and went into the break leading 30-21.
"We weren't running fluid, we weren't running together," Oswald said after her team slipped to 7-14, 4-13 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. "We weren't working as a unit. Especially in the first half I thought we were the one-dribble bandits. We were just putting the ball on the floor and not working together."
Malone (16-8, 11-17) led the rest of the way, despite a late Tiffin run that cut the Pioneers lead to five. The Pioneers got 27 points off Tiffin miscues.
"It's not real complicated," said Malone coach Jason Mishler, who once was a TU assistant under Oswald. "Both teams, when we play each other, it's gonna be a slow grind. (Tiffin) is so well coached, basically for us it's going to come down to if we can make shots or not."
The Pioneers made enough Thursday. They were led by Sydnee Penn, who made five baskets and finished with 15 points and five assists. Lindsy Snyder had 12 points and five rebounds.
Tiffin was paced by Jillian Adams, who had 15 points and six boards, and by Bre Nauman, who notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Oswald was asked about Jaeb.
"Definitely would be nice to see Mandy Jaeb back in uniform," Oswald said with a smile. "It's one of those things where it's nice to see her coaching and being able to give back."
On the men's side, Tiffin took a 13-12 lead when Khaleal McCormick made a basket with 14:25 left in the first half.
Tiffin didn't score again for almost five minutes, part of a 21-1 Pioneer run from which the Dragons never completely recovered.
"That was really important for us, because (Tiffin's) a very scrappy team, and they're going to come back and battle, and especially when you're on the road, it's tough to win in this conference," Malone coach Tim Walker said. "I thought Tiffin did a good job in the second half of giving us everything we could handle, so having that cushion was important."
Malone's Christian Graves gave the Dragons problems. He hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points.
"He stepped up," TU coach Jerry Buccilla said. "Of course, the whole scouting report on him is, don't let him have any open looks, let him drive."
The Dragons fell behind by as many as 20 in the second half, but came back, cutting Malone's lead to 73-68 on a Khaleal McCormick 3 with 56 seconds to go.
But the Pioneers (12-10, 8-10) held on, behind Isiah Elliott's 16 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Tiffin (8-14, 4-13) got 22 points from Ashton Khan, 19 from McCormick and nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists from Joe Graessle.
"We got back in the contest, we just didn't capitalize when we got it to five or six points," Buccilla said.