Marietta advances to NCAA second round with convincing 101-77 win over Maryville

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MARIETTA, Ohio - In the most important game of his career, Marietta sophomore Kyle Matoszkia came up big.

Matoszkia, who played 17 minutes off of the bench, scored a career-high 14 points and pulled down six rebounds as the Pioneers (21-6) easily defeated Maryville 101-77 in the first round the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament in front of 1,527 fans at Ban Johnson Arena Friday night.

"Kyle is the perfect example if you just stay positive and stay the course and keep working that good things will come," said Marietta coach Jon VanderWal, who improved to 8-6 in the NCAA Tournament. "He's been in a tough position because of our depth, and because of the matchups we get. … We really wanted to get him on the floor today. I'm glad we did that."

In the previous four games, Matoszkia scored a combined 16 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

"I was just trying to do my best coming off the bench," he said. "Our guard use their shot fakes, and when I get the ball I'm just trying to use good moves and score baskets."

Matoszkia wasn't the only Marietta player off of the bench to have a big night.

Senior Keith Richardson had 11 points, sophomore Jason Ellis had nine points and senior Anthony Wallace added eight points as Marietta's bench outscored Maryville's bench 54-10.

"A 44-point difference? That's strong," said Maryville coach Randy Lambert. "(Marietta) obviously had been out of synch for the last week or two. … They showed up tonight and played their 'A' game."

The Pioneers, who lost to Ohio Athletic Conference rival John Carroll in last week's league tournament, never trailed Friday. Marietta used a 10-0 run to build a 12-2 lead early in the first half. The Pioneers never let off the gas and led by as many as 25 before going into the intermission up 51-30.

Sophomore post Tim Kreeger paced Marietta in the first half as he scored all 12 of his points, while freshman guard Lukas Isaly had eight of his 14 points.

"During times like this, protecting the ball is so important," Isaly said. "We have to take good care of the ball. It's very valuable. Today I was able to handle the ball well."
Feeding off the supportive crowd, Marietta extended its lead to 27 points — 71-44 — when Richardson made a 3-point basket with 14:03 left in the game.

"You're always worried about the first-game jitters, but I don't think our guys played nervous at all tonight," VanderWal said.

Marietta capitalized quickly on two advantages — depth and size.

"We wanted to go at (Emier Bowman). We told them we needed to have a post presence today. It was definitely part of the game plan today," VanderWal said. "We make those guys guard us down low, and it helped that we got Bowman in foul trouble early."

Matoszkia, Kreeger and Caleb Hoyng combined for 38 points. Marietta also outrebounded Maryville (21-8) 52-27. Kreeger led Marietta with 12 rebounds, while senior Kyle Dixon had seven.

"I don't think I've ever had a team outrebounded by 25," Lambert said.

Maryville senior Dante Hoppa closed out his career on a high note, as he led all scorers with 30 points, which included 15 points from the foul line.

"I don't think there is anything to hang our heads about," he said. "I've enjoyed my experience at Maryville. Even though it didn't pan out … you don't get to play in a venue like this every day. They were a good team as well. I enjoyed the run with my guys and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Bowman and Calvin Songster each added 14 points in the loss.

It was also the final game for Lambert, who is retiring after 39 seasons and 722 career victories at Maryville.

"I'm just thankful for these young men and all of them who have played for me down the way," he said. "It's been fun and very rewarding. I don't think anyone can say the old man stayed too long, because we were still successful."

VanderWal said Lambert is one of the nation's most respected Division III coaches.

"He's a legend in Division III. We have a ton of respect for him," VanderWal said. "I look up to Coach Lambert. To be in this business that long in one place and going out on your terms is special."