- On Senior Day, Heidelberg defeated Mount Union, 74-72
- Point guard Chris Moxley led the charge with 22 points
- Prewitt, Bennie, and Dixon all finish in double figures
TIFFIN -- Needing a win to stay in the hunt for the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament, the Heidelberg University men's basketball team got the job done. On Senior Day, the Student Princes defeated the University of Mount Union, 74-72.
It took the Student Princes three and a half minutes to score their first points, but when they did they scored seven straight -- all within a minute -- to jump out to a 7-2 lead. Prewitt ignited the scoring with a triple from the wing, followed by a jumper from Moxley. On the next MTU possession, Dixon intercepted a Purple Raider pass and raced the length of the court for a fast break layup.
Prewitt went on a 6-0 run himself, extending the Student Prince lead to 25-10 with nine minutes before the break.
Mount Union responded with a 6-0 run, before it was halted thanks to a 3-pointer by Moxley. The trey pushed the HU lead back to double digits with five minutes before halftime.
With under three minutes before halftime, Mount Union's JJ Kukura nailed a three from way beyond the arc, cutting the deficit to 32-22. Nathan Bower-Malone stole the inbounds pass and took it in for an easy layup. The score forced Andy Bucheit to call timeout with his team holding only an eight point lead.
Heidelberg forced the Purple Raiders to commit 11 turnovers in the half, scoring 14 points off MTU turnovers.
Five minutes into the half, the visitors trimmed the HU lead to three points. Needing a way to stop the Purple Raider momentum, Moxley drained a three from the wing. On the ensuing Mount Union possession, Kiere Bennie grabbed the rebound and made the outlet pass to Moxley. Moxley scored the transition layup to increase the Berg lead back to eight.
Kukura drilled a transition three with 11:40 on the clock, slimming the Heidelberg lead to 53-51. Kukura finished with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Up by four with 3:21 to play, Prewitt electrified the Seiberling Gymnasium crowd with a thundering dunk off a feed from James Hanley. The slam extending the HU lead to 66-60, a momentum shift they desperately needed.
MTU clawed its way back to cut Heidelberg's lead to one point with 29 seconds remaining. The Purple Raiders elected to foul Bennie, who drained a pair of clutch free throws, putting HU back up by three with 21 seconds on the clock.
The Purple Raiders got a good look at a game-tying 3-pointer, but the rebound rattled off a MTU player and gave Heidelberg the ball back with nine seconds left. Bennie hit two more free throws to seal the victory. A Mount Union three in the waning seconds did not harm the Berg.
"I thought our seniors did a great job at leading by example," said head coach Andy Bucheit. "We told our younger guys that whether it's one, two, or three years down the road, they'll be in the seniors' shoes and want the younger guys to play for them. Our underclassmen did a great job at playing with intensity and urgency for our seniors."
Heidelberg dominated the game in the paint, outscoring Mount Union, 32-12.
The Student Princes are tied for the final spot in the eight-team OAC Tournament, with two games to play. The top four spots have already been clinched by John Carroll, Marietta, Ohio Northern and Baldwin Wallace. The remaining four spots will go to a combination of the following four teams:
- Capital (7-9; at WILM, JCU)
- Mount Union (7-9; BW, OTT)
- Muskingum (7-9; MAR, HEID)
- Wilmington (6-10; CAP, @BW)
- Heidelberg (6-10; @JCU, @MUSK)
The Berg looks to avenge a loss from early January at John Carroll (19-4, 13-3) on Wednesday. Game time in University Heights is set for 7 p.m.