TIFFIN – When scoring 90 points in a game, a team is usually in a position to win. When your opponent shoots over 60% in the entire game, however, it is a different story. On Wednesday, the Heidelberg University men's basketball team put up a valiant effort, but was unable to overcome the hot shooting of the visiting Purple Raiders, falling 100-90.
After succumbing to a big run by Mount Union in the first half, Heidelberg tightened the game before half and made a run of their own in the second half. It was not enough though, as the Purple Raiders held on late.
Heidelberg shot 49.2% in the game but were out-shot by visiting Mount Union, who hit a blistering 65.3% of their shots from the field, including 52.6% from behind the 3-point line.
Ben Jones scored a career-high 21 points, all on 3-pointers, drilling 7-of-9 from behind the arc.
The Purple Raiders went on a 31-5 run in the first half, taking control after the Student Princes opened the game with a 17-8 advantage.
Heidelberg got off to a hot start, roaring out to a 17-8 lead at the 15:43 mark after Kiere' Bennie nailed a 3-pointer.
A quick 16-0 run by Mount Union shifted the momentum, highlighted by a thunderous one-handed dunk by Jarrett Ruffin off an alley-oop by Kyle Scelza in transition.
The Purple Raiders got out to their largest lead with 4:48 to play, taking a 47-30 advantage after a pair of free throws.
A late rally by the Berg cut the deficit to just 11 at halftime after James Hanley hit a buzzer-beating jumper.
It was another quick start for the Student Princes in the second half, cutting the deficit all the way to one point at the 14:56 mark after Shane Lee made a layup.
A split-second before Mount Union would have been called for a 10-second backcourt violation, Bennie was whistled for a foul with 13:28 remaining and the Student Princes trailing just 64-62. Moments after, Bennie was called for a technical foul, shifting the momentum in the game.
After Mount Union got back out to a double-digit lead, Heidelberg cut the lead back down to two after Jones nailed one of his seven 3-pointers on the day with 6:39 to play.
A 10-2 run by the Purple Raiders at this point got the lead back out to 10 with 3:32 remaining following a trey by Cody Dillon.
The Student Princes were only able to pull within six points from there on out. Mount Union's clutch free throw shooting iced the game, dealing Heidelberg tough defeat.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Jackson Blue had a big day inside for the Student Princes, scoring 18 points, which is just one shy of his career high.
Hanley had an outstanding game on the glass, pulling down a career-high eight rebounds. He just missed out on a double-double, scoring nine points as well in the game.
The 14 points by DeAvery Collins set a new career high for him, also marking the fifth time he has scored in double-figures coming off of the bench.
Head coach Andy Bucheit's thoughts on the game: "I thought we controlled things for 32 minutes of the game – offensively and with our pressure -- but for eight minutes we fell asleep and gave up a lot of easy baskets and didn't score any points. I thought that was the difference. For 32 minutes, we won ... but for eight, they beat us pretty bad. Our guys played really hard, fought back and gave us a chance."
Junior Ben Jones on his strong offensive performance: "I got a lot of shots up this morning because I haven't been shooting the ball like I want to all year ... I've worked on finding consistency in my form. My teammates have kept believing in me and once I got a couple going, it was lights out from there."
Heidelberg will be on the road for their next contest, traveling to Otterbein on Saturday, January 10. That game in Westerville is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. in the Rike Center.