TIFFIN –Marcquice Taylor scored six of his 18 points in the final 30 seconds as the Heidelberg University men's basketball team rallied to defeat Wilmington College, 88-85. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Student Princes and avenged an 83-81 loss in Wilmington earlier this season.
Heidelberg moved to 8-11, 4-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. With the loss, the Quakers slip to 8-10, 5-7 in the conference.
THE FINAL MINUTE
A pair of free throws by Wilmington's Christian Jones put the visitors on top 83-82 with 47 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Taylor received the ball in the left corner faked a cut toward the top, then drove baseline. Despite drawing contact, the junior was able to get a right-handed floater to go off the glass with 28 seconds left.
Wilmington quickly inbounded and brought the ball into the forecourt. With 15 seconds remaining, Dwight Johnson drew front iron on an 18-foot jumper. The rebound was tracked down by Taylor, who quickly drew a foul, Wilmington's eighth of the half.
In the one-and-one, Taylor calmly drained both free throws, which put Heidelberg up 86-83.
Johnson was fouled on a drive to the hoop on the next Quaker possession and canned both foul shots, drawing WC back to within one.
The Quakers were forced to foul on the inbound, sending Taylor back to the stripe with seven seconds left. Again, he sank a pair to put HU up three.
A desperation 3-pointer by post Jonathan Bibbs clanked off the rim and the ball fell into Taylor's hands as time expired.
Taylor's 18 points came on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line. He had a team-high four assists.
Heidelberg's leading scorer was Kiere Bennie, who poured in 23 points. The freshman went 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Birthday boy Jackson Blue turned in 10 points and eight rebounds, four of which were on the offensive glass. The junior also recorded a pair of blocked shots in the victory.
THE FIRST 39 MINUTES
Heidelberg led 10-2 in the early going before Wilmington began to heat up. Johnson had 14 of his 23 points in the first half thanks to an immaculate 5-5 shooting performance including a pair of 3-pointers late in the period. Three layups in the final two minutes vaulted the Quakers to an eight-point advantage at intermission.
On Alumni Day, the Student Princes trailed for the first half of the second period. With exactly 10 minutes left, Shane Lee buried a 3-pointer from the top that tied the game at 63. Heidelberg retook the lead on its next possession. Doug Waldmannstetter corralled an offensive rebound and kicked it back out to James Hanley. Hanley drove into the lane and found Waldmannstetter alone on the baseline. The senior buried a 15-footer in front of a raucous Heidelberg bench.
The game stayed tight until Taylor's heroics at the end.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Four Student Princes reached double-figures, with Ben Jones (14 points) joining Bennie, Taylor and Blue.
Wilmington's Christian Jones had a game-high 24 points.
The Quakers were 24-of-25 from the foul line, including a string of 23 straight. Heidelberg was 16-of-20, their highest percentage in the last 10 games.
More than 25 former Student Princes returned to Seiberling Gymnasium for the annual Alumni Day celebration.
Junior Marcquice Taylor on his go-ahead layup: "I knew had to make a play for my team. I jabbed middle and went baseline ... there was open space because their defender chased followed Ben [Jones].
Taylor on the clutch free throws: "I kept myself calm...it wasn't the first time I've made pressure free throws. I told myself, 'finish the game...get the win.'"
Head coach Andy Bucheit on Taylor's final minute: "Marcquice tells us he's a gamer ... I wish he was more of a practicer ... but when he produces like this down the stretch, it's hard to argue with him ... He is a leader on this team, and that was evident here today."
After playing on the road for four games prior to Saturday's win, Heidelberg will pack up the bus twice next week. The Tricolor visits Baldwin Wallace on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) and Muskingum on Saturday (3 p.m.). BW beat Heidelberg 82-68 in mid-January. Heidelberg walloped the Muskies in December, 94-67.