WESTMINSTER, Penn. – The Heidelberg University men's basketball team picked up their first victory of the season on Friday, defeating Westminster on the road 89-78. The Student Princes, who battled back and forth with the Titans in the first half, surged to pull away late in the second half as they earned the win.
Kiere' Bennie led Heidelberg with a career-high 31 points in the game. The sophomore filled up the stat sheet for the Berg by also pulling down eight rebounds, dishing out five assists, and recording a pair of steals.
Jackson Blue had a solid day in the post for the Student Princes and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds in the win. The senior also scored eight points on 4-of-7 shooting in the victory.
Despite getting out-shot from the field in the game, Heidelberg held a commanding 54-39 edge in rebounding in the game, which propelled them to the win.
The host Titans were able to get off to a hot start, taking an 8 point lead (14-6) with 13:50 to play. Slowly but surely, however, the Berg had an answer as they were able to chip away at the lead.
The Student Princes were finally able to knot the score at 23 after a pair of free throws by Jordan Bradley at the 9:17 mark.
From then on, the two sides wrestled back and forth with the lead until back-to-back 3-pointers by James Hanley gave HU a five-point edge (34-29) with 5:44 to play.
Westminster was able to rally back and regain the lead, but the Berg made the last run of the half, scoring the final five points of the period to take a 45-40 lead entering the break.
The Student Princes were the ones to get the quicker start in the second half, as they stretched their lead to 10 (52-42) after a jumper by Maurice Hunter at the 17:42 mark.
That lead did not last though, as the Titans battled back and pulled within two with 12:43 to play, forcing Heidelberg to call a timeout in an attempt to stop the momentum swing.
Out of the timeout, the Berg went on a run of their own in response, pushing their lead back out to eight (69-61) after Bennie nailed a jumper at the 10:55 mark.
The Student Princes were able to hold that lead pretty much steady for the next stretch, as a layup by DeAvery Collins made it a 78-71 advantage with 6:16 left in the game.
Heidelberg made one more run to take total control of the contest, as a layup by Blue pushed the lead to 12 (85-73) with just 1:27 to play. That would be enough for the Berg to hold onto down the stretch, as free throws iced the game and gave the Student Princes an 89-78 victory.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Despite not making a field goal in the contest, freshman Jordan Bradley still made an impact, converting all six of his free throw attempts.
Hanley scored 12 points in the win for the Berg, all coming in the first half. The sophomore shot 4-for-5 from the field, including 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc.
Heidelberg will be right back at it tomorrow as they face Thiel at 2:00 p.m. with that game also taking place at Westminster.