TIFFIN, Ohio - It was an up tempo, back and forth, high-scoring game as the Quakers of Wilmington traveled to the snow covered campus of Heidelberg. The Student Princes kept the point differential close for most of the game until a late burst from Wilmington put the game out of reach as they go on to lose, 99-89.
The high-scoring affair contest reached a tie on seven separate occasions and the two sides exchanged the lead eight times. Although it was in a losing effort, the Berg men reached a season-high with 89 points.
The Student Princes gained an eight point advantage over the Quakers, 11-3, in the first 2:30 minutes of the game. Wilmington brought the contest to its first tie at the 15:37 mark with a three-point play from Malcolm Heard II.
Heard finished with a double-double, 23 points and 11 rebounds against the Berg.
Heidelberg gained a slim lead in the following minutes until Wilmington pulled ahead by one with 11:55 left in the first half. The Berg men quickly regained the lead and extended it to nine, their largest lead of the game, when senior guard Mike Petrie earned an and-one opportunity and made the free throw.
Petrie led all scorers with a career-high 29 points in the loss. The Student Prince finished with three rebounds, one assists and one steal to accompany his career-high performance.
The Berg men maintained a slight advantage over Wilmington as the final minutes of the first half ticked away, exchanging the lead three times before the half. A big three pointer from Wilmington's Taylor Wellman gave the Quakers a one point advantage, 46-45, heading into the half.
The Berg shot their way to a five point lead, 51-46 to begin the second half. Wilmington brought the game back to a tie, 51-51, at the 17:40 mark in the second half. The Berg answered by pulling the contest to it's final tie, 53-53 in just under a minute.
With the game once again deadlocked, the Quakers began to slowly pull away from the Student Princes, although the Berg never stopped fighting. Wilmington took the first double-digit lead of the game at the 9:09 mark, shortly before Berg head coach Andy Bucheit drew two direct technical fouls from the bench and was dismissed from the gym.
The Quakers gained their largest lead of the game, 82-65 with 7:17 remaining, but the Berg men began to chip away at the deficit. Heidelberg trailed by as little as seven in the closing minutes of the contest, but the Quakers would not be denied. Trailing by seven, 96-89, with under a minute to play the Berg surrendered a pair of free throw opportunities to the Quakers. The Quakers hit on three of four from the charity stripe as time expired to extend their lead to 99-89.
"We tell our guys that there is a fine line between winning and losing," said Bucheit. "We've been so close in these OAC games...we just have to find a way to continue to play hard and execute."
Sophomore Deonte Holder finished behind Petire's stellar performance with 18 points of his own. Holder also collected five rebounds while shooting 50% from the floor in the loss.
Junior Cole Williams led the Heidelberg bench with an 11-point performance while hauling in five rebounds, claiming two assists and collecting one steal.
The Heidelberg men move to 4-7 overall and are winless in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Bucheit and the Student Princes will travel to University Heights, Ohio in search of their elusive first OAC victory. The Berg will take on the Blue Streaks of John Carroll University (8-3, 2-2 OAC) on Wednesday, January 8. Tipoff between the Blue Streaks and Student Princes is slated for 7:00 p.m.