MBB: Berg's comeback attempt falls short

Photos by Brennan Izzo
Photos by Brennan Izzo

TIFFIN -- The Heidelberg University men's basketball team erased a 14-point halftime deficit, but were edged by a pair of late free throws at the hands of Baldwin Wallace University as they fell 70-68 at home.

The Student Princes (6-12, 4-7 OAC) were led by dual 18-point performances in their comeback attempt by big men Myron Prewitt and Alex Arellano. The pair also combined for 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks defensively.

Jimmy Hanley got things off with a bang, as he hit the opening shot of the game from the corner after just 11 seconds. Upon Myron Prewitt collecting the opening tip, Josh Dixon quickly found Hanley for the 3-pointer to set the tone early.

The Hanley bucket did just that, as both teams looked to get to the basket quickly. The high-tempo didn't necessarily yield results, but made for a back-and-forth affair across much of the first half. The Yellow Jackets (12-6, 6-5) finished the half scoring 35% of their attempts, while the Student Princes shot a modest 31% from the floor.

A brief five point swing in favor of the Yellow Jackets with just 3:43 remaining in the half saw the Berg trail 24-19. As BW attempted to add to their advantage, Michael Quiring went up for a layup. However, Logan West-Holmes was on hand to send the shot attempt into the back wall on a thunderous block.

The play eventually led to Tayte Lentz earning a pair of free throws at the other end where the sophomore netted both freebies to bring HU back within three. Unfortunately, the brief momentum was short-lived as BW hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite a 12-1 run to finish the half. The visitors headed to the break ahead 36-22.  

The halftime respite was a spark of momentum for the Student Princes as they started the half on a 17-4 run, boosted by a balanced attack of Prewitt, Dixon, and Alex Arellano.

During the run, Phariz Watkins ignited the Seiberling Gymnasium crowd with his driving layup. With his defender on his heels, Watkins pressed start on the spin cycle and spun his man, determined to knock down the layup.

Two BW free throws broke up the Heidelberg run, but did not slow the momentum. After a pair of Coby Kelly charity shots, Myron Prewitt threw down a powerful dunk with 11 minutes even left on the clock to give Heidelberg their first lead since the 9:01 mark of the first half.  

A BW 3-point play briefly re-established their lead, but Prewitt, Watkins and Arellano combined for an 8-2 run in favor of the Berg. The run gave them a four-point lead, which kicked off a period of seesaw play by both teams.  

After drawing even at 59-a-piece, Coby Kelly put the Berg back on top with just 3:45 remaining. With a full head of steam, Kelly's stutter dribble tripped up the defender and allowed the freshman a clear path to the basket where he calmly converted.

BW retook the lead on a 6-2 turnaround. Down by two with 55 seconds remaining, Arellano drew a shooting foul for HU. The big man split the pair, leaving the Student Princes with work to do defensively. With 16 second remaining, Battle hit a step-back 3-pointer for the Yellow Jackets to make it a two-possession game.

After a BW timeout, Phariz Watkins was fouled as he drove to the basket. There, he calmly knocked down both free throw attempts to close the gap to 68-66.

In desperation mode, the Student Princes were forced to foul. Baldwin Wallace worked the inbounds pass to their leading scorer -- Jay Battle. The sharp shooter reciprocated Watkins' efforts from the line, knocking down his two freebies.

Alex Arellano cleaned up a 3-ball miss at the buzzer to bring the final score back to 70-68.

Both teams utilized the offensive glass in their favor across the game as BW bucketed 20 second-chance points on their 20 offensive boards while the Berg netted 14 points off their 11 offensive rebounds.

Baldwin Wallace's big advantage came from deep as they buried 10-of-30 attempts. The Student Princes managed to convert just 3-for-17 of their 3-pointer attempts.

Jay Battle led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points. Three other BW players hit double-digit scoring as Michael Quiring hit 14, Luke Schaefer tallied 12 and Kyle Nader added 11. Drew Sova led all rebounders with 12.

The Student Princes will travel to Wilmington College on Saturday for a 3 p.m. tipoff. The Quakers defeated Heidelberg 89-81 earlier this season at Seiberling Gymnasium.