TIFFIN – Finishing off what was a busy day for Heidelberg athletics, the men's basketball team opened up their season with an 80-63 rout of Trine University. The Student Princes displayed an impressive amount of defensive intensity and pressure throughout, forcing the Thunder into turnovers that helped the Berg pull away for the victory.
The game started off hot for the Student Princes when Ben Jones knocked down a three-pointer, then stole the ball from Trine while in a full-court press with Kiere' Bennie scoring on the ensuing possession. The Berg forced another turnover with their press, scoring again to open up the ballgame with a 7-0 lead.
Trine would go on a run of their own midway through the half, however, as they got out to a 24-20 lead after a pair of free throws by Jared Holmquist. The Student Princes continued their intensity though and jumped out to a seven-point lead after Shane Lee knocked down a pair of treys in quick succession, making the score 32-25. They kept up that lead through the remainder of the half, entering halftime with a 38-31 lead.
Right out of the gate in the second half, Marquice Taylor knocked down a layup and a jumper to push the Heidelberg lead to 11. Trine was able to make a push and get the deficit down to just five at 44-39 when Will Dixon drilled a three-pointer, but that would be the closest they would come from there on out as the Student Princes began to pull away.
Heidelberg would go on to score the next 14 points to build a 19-point advantage that would turn out to be insurmountable for the visiting Thunder. A pair of free throws by Jones with just over three minutes to play pushed the lead to 22, the largest it would be on the night. Frank Longhino came in late and knocked down a three-pointer in the final minutes as the Berg ran out the clock for the 17-point win.
"We're really, really deep, and that's going to be our focus this year" said head coach Andy Bucheit, in his second season at the helm. "We are going to try to wear people out and throw rows of five at you. Through that system I thought we really saw Trine really wear down in the 2nd half, especially the last 8 minutes."
Marquice Taylor, who led the Student Princes with 20 points, echoed that statement when he said, "We just stuck to the game plan and wore them out like coach said. We pressure the ball a lot; always run the ball up the floor, make or miss." In talking about how it felt to return from his injury last season, Taylor said "I can't even describe the feeling. I was a little nervous at the beginning, but it was great, I'm blessed."
"Moving forward, I fully expect us to wear people down. Our motto is "controlled chaos". We're all about pressure, pressure, pressure" said Bucheit. "We want the environment to be chaotic for our opponent, but for us it's controlled. If we can continue to execute what we want to execute defensively...we're going to be pretty successful."
Taylor led all scorers in the game with 20, also dishing out a team-high four assists. Ben Jones and DeAvery Collins were also in double figures for the Student Princes, chipping in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Doug Waldmanstetter had a solid day on the boards, pulling down a game-high nine rebounds.
The relentless Heidelberg defense forced Trine into 16 turnovers on the day, holding the Thunder to 36% shooting from the floor while recording nine steals.
The win makes Heidelber 1-0 to open their season, making them 6-1 in both home and season-openers in the past seven seasons. The next game for the Student Princes will be next Wednesday, November 19, when they are home again to take on Westmister (Pa.). That non-conference matchup is scheduled to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. in Seiberling Gymnasium.