TIFFIN -- The Heidelberg University men's basketball team tested the No. 8 team in the country down to the wire, giving themselves a chance to take the game to overtime. Unfortunately, their final shot fell just short.
Marietta College (12-1, 6-0 OAC) edged the aggressive Student Princes (4-9, 2-4) by a final score of 67-64.
As the case for much of the game, Heidelberg and Marietta exchanged control of the game until late on. With 2:44 left in the contest, Dylan Woods connected on a tough 3-pointer, giving the Berg a one point lead. However, Marietta responded with a 3-ball of their own to re-establish the late lead with 2:15 remaining. From there, the Pioneers needed just three free throw makes to ice the game in their favor.
Alex Arellano led all scorers with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting and a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. In addition to his offensive prowess, Arellano hauled in 11 rebounds, giving him the first double-double of his career.
Myron Prewitt and Woods each collected 12 points. Defensively, Prewitt also nabbed 11 rebounds -- good for his tenth double-double of the season -- and three steals.
Bad shooting and turnovers resulted in a high-tempo, but scoreless first 1:25 of the game. Marietta broke the drought with two free throws by Kyle Dixon and one from Mel Schuler, giving them the early 3-0 lead. However, Dylan Woods connected on the first field-goal of the game as he stepped into a 3-pointer from the corner, tying the game at three.
From there, both teams saw good periods of the game. After exchanging baskets, both teams continued on their poor shooting which led to a 2:24 scoreless run. Finally, the Pioneers connected. Three quick buckets saw the Student Princes down by 10 with 11:10 remaining in the first half.
The Berg then put together a short, 14-4 run to even the score at 22 a piece. With the score tied, Myron Prewitt -- who was scoreless at the time -- broke up a pass and carried the ball down the floor. There he threw down a thunderous dunk which ignited the team. Prewitt then scored five more points sandwiched around two Phariz Watkins layups to give the Student Princes an eight point lead at the halftime intermission.
The Pioneers came out of the break as the aggressors, tying the game at 44 with just over five minutes of game-time gone in the second-half. From there, both teams battled firmly for the final 14:33. The largest lead for either team the rest of the way was just four points.
Arellano picked up his impact on the game, giving the Student Princes a chance to knock off the top-10 Pioneers. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Arellano hit a tough, contested shot as he was fouled, resulting in the critical three-point-play.
The redshirt-sophomore forward proceeded to impose his force on the contest as Heidelberg fed the hot hand. He took advantage of an important second-chance opportunity late in the game putting back a missed shot attempt to give them a brief one-point lead.
Arellano then evened the game at 59-59 with 4:22 remaining on a contested layup underneath. The play set up an opportunity for Dylan Woods to hit a 3-ball, giving the team their final lead of the contest.
Heidelberg stayed in the contest late as Arellano connected on two freebies with just 19 seconds left in the game. Trailing by two, the Berg's high tempo defense put Lukas Isaly at the free throw line with two seconds on the clock.
Isaly missed the crucial second attempt, leading to a Heidelberg timeout. Out of the brief respite, the Berg inbounded to their hot shooter. Arellano took the pass and hoisted a desperate 3-point attempt from 26 feet in triple coverage. However, the shot fell just short, giving the 67-64 win to the Pioneers.
The Berg imposed their will on the offensive glass, out-rebounding the Pioneers 17-13. With the advantage, Heidelberg converted 13 second-chance points, compared to Marietta's eight.
It was a tale of two halves for both teams. In the first period, Marietta shot the ball just 26%, while the Berg shot 39%. In the second period, Heidelberg only converted 25% of their attempts, as Marietta netted 45% of their shots.
For the opponent, Lukas Isaly and Jason Ellis each scored 13 points. Anthony Wallace was next for the Pioneers with 12 points. Also, Wallace netted his 1,000th career point on a contested 3-pointer midway through the second half.
Heidelberg will continue conference play as they travel to John Carroll University on Wednesday evening for a 7 p.m. tipoff.