MARIETTA - A strong start to the second half gave the Heidelberg University men's basketball team a chance at the upset of No. 11 Marietta on Saturday, but the Pioneers lived up to their ranking in the end, pulling away for an 82-71 victory. The Student Princes, who trailed by 15 at the break, pulled within as few as three in the second half, but the host Pioneers had the last laugh, running away at the end for the double-digit win.
With the loss, Heidelberg fell to 9-8 (4-6 OAC) while Marietta improved to 15-2 (9-1 OAC)
Kiere' Bennie led the Berg with 23 points in the losing effort. This marks the fifth time this season that the sophomore has eclipsed the 20-point mark in a game.
Heidelberg, who entered the game leading the OAC in team free throw shooting percentage, continued that today, as they made 12-of-13 from the charity stripe.
Marietta forced HU into 17 turnovers in the game and scored 16 points off of turnovers to help them seal the win.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Pioneers would respond, however, as they gathered the momentum and roared ahead for a 20-11 lead, forcing a Berg timeout with 10:05 remaining in the half. That did not stop the run for Marietta, as they continued to build their lead out to as many as 16 before holding a 34-19 lead at halftime.
HU came out of the locker room in the second half on a mission and opened on an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to just seven with 17:24 remaining in the game.
After the Pioneers stopped the run, Heidelberg continued to press and made it a 42-36 game with 14:50 left to play after a pair of free throws by Jordan Bradley.
The Student Princes continued to hang around until Marietta stretched their lead back out to double-digits (57-47), forcing an HU timeout with 7:39 left in the second half.
Marietta was able to maintain that lead for a while before a 3-pointer by Bennie cut the deficit to nine (68-59) with just 3:33 to play in the game.
That would turn out to not be enough, as the Pioneers held on in the end for the 82-71 win.
The Student Princes return home on Wednesday, January 27th, when they host No.5 John Carroll (17-0, 10-0 OAC). That contest is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. in Seiberling Gymnasium.