TIFFIN, Ohio — The No. 8 ranked Marietta College men's basketball team overcame a sluggish start to defeat Heidelberg University, 67-64, Saturday (Jan. 5) afternoon in Ohio Athletic Conference action. The Pioneers improve to 12-1 overall and remain in first place in the OAC with a 6-0 conference mark. The Student Princes slip to 4-9 overall and 2-4 in the OAC.
"We really struggled offensively today especially in the first half," Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal said. "But I'm really proud of our guys for staying the course and gutting out a tough road win."
Marietta jumped out to an early lead and led by as many as 10 points in the first half. A three-pointer from Kyle Dixon at the 11:10 mark gave MC an 18-8 advantage.
Heidelberg, coached by former Pioneer assistant coach Andy Bucheit,worked its way back into the game with a 7-0 run and eventually tied the game, 22-22, on a three-point play from Alex Arellano, with 6:54 left in the first half.
Another Student Prince run gave Heidelberg its biggest lead of the game, 33-25, with just over two minutes left in the half. HU took a 35-27 lead into halftime.
Lukas Isaly opened the second half with a pair of buckets to cut the Heidelberg advantage in half, 35-31. Then back-to-back three-pointers from Anthony Wallace and Jason Ellis tied the game, 44-44, with 14:33 to play.
Wallace's trey was special as it gave the senior his 1,000th career point at Marietta. He becomes the thirty-third player in program history to reach the milestone.
"I couldn't be happier for Anthony," VanderWal added. "He's had a tremendous impact on our program the past four years and this is a special milestone for him to reach."
The rest of the second half was a back and forth scramble as the teams traded small leads. The period saw six ties and nine lead changes until a triple from Dixon with 2:15 left on the clock put Marietta in front to stay.
Wallace converted a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession game, 66-62, with 34 seconds remaining. Arellano hit two at the charity stripe for Heidelberg to cut the Pioneer lead in half, 66-64, with 19 seconds to play.
The Student Princes were forced to foul and Isaly made the first free throw and missed the second giving Heidelberg one last chance. Following a timeout, the HU desperation three-pointer was off the mark giving Marietta the road victory, 67-64.
Isaly and Ellis led the Pioneers with 13 points each. Wallace finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Tim Kreeger led Marietta with seven rebounds. Dixon chipped in with eight points and six boards.
Arellano led all scorers with 22 points. He recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds. Myron Prewitt also notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Dylan Woods finished with 12 points on four three-pointers.
For the game, Marietta shot 35.2% (19-of-54) from the floor, 29.2% (7-of-24) from three-point range and 68.8% (22-of-32) from the free throw line. The Student Princes were 21-of-67 (31.3%) from the floor, 6-of-27 (22.2%) behind the arc and 16-of-19 (84.2%) at the line.
Heidelberg edged the Pioneers on the glass, 47-44. The Student Princes turned the ball over 18 times, while Marietta committed 17 turnovers.
Marietta hosts Capital University on Wednesday (Jan. 9) in a battle for first place in the OAC standings. The Crusaders are tied with the Pioneers with a 6-0 conference record. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Ban Johnson Arena.