MBB: Berg picks up crucial win

Photos courtesy of Brennan Izzo
Photos courtesy of Brennan Izzo

TIFFIN -- Behind a strong start, the Heidelberg University men's basketball team knocked off Muskingum University in a critical conference matchup on Saturday afternoon.

The Berg (7-13, 5-8 OAC) emerged with a 92-78 victory on home-floor. The Student Princes shot a dominant 54% from the floor and an astounding 20-of-21 from the charity line to propel them forward on the day.

Four Heidelberg shooters hit double figures in scoring, paced by Dylan Woods' 23 points. Myron Prewitt added 21, Alex Arellano scooped in 18, and Jimmy Hanley contributed 13.

Prewitt kept pace with Maddy Crawford's double-double consistency with his 13th double-double of the season. He added 12 boards with his 21-point affair.

"In the ever-tough OAC, that was a good win to get back into the win column," said head coach Andy Bucheit. "It's good to see the guys come through ... they made big plays and no one ever gave up and responded well when Muskie tied the game."

The Student Princes sat firmly in the driver's seat for much of the game. Their momentum began the first five minutes of play as they began play on a 13-2 run. Much the case in recent games, Heidelberg utilized a balanced offense to buoy the strong start.

Over the next ten minutes of play the Berg maintained the reward of their strong start. With 4:41 remaining in the half, Muskingum (7-14, 3-11) closed to within four on a pair of free throws by Tyler Bardall.

On the very next possession, a jump ball led to a Muskie inbound opportunity. On the pass, Coby Kelly deflected the ball to Emmanuel Perdue. Perdue drew the defender and returned the ball to a wide-open Kelly, who dispatched the 3-pointer to re-ignite the Berg momentum.

Heidelberg rode that energy into a 14-point halftime lead as Alex Arellano, Josh Dixon, and Dylan Woods hit back-to-back-to-back layups to close out the first half of play.

Across the first period of play, the aggressive Heidelberg offense connected on nearly 57% of their shot attempts, including 40% from beyond the arc. Dylan Woods led the first half scorers with 15 points.

Muskingum used the halftime respite to their advantage and stormed out on a 22-6 run at the beginning of the second half to level the score at 56 each.

The Berg responded nicely, on a 13-6 run. This time, Jimmy Hanley led the efforts with two free throws and a 3-pointer to give the Berg back their upper hand. Building on Hanley's efforts, Myron Prewitt scored on a forced hook shot, while Arellano knocked down two charity shots to give HU their 10-point advantage back.

Down by nine points with just under a minute remaining, the Muskies were forced to foul. After swift ball movement by the Berg, Hanley was sent to the line. He calmly knocked down both freebies to extend the lead to 11 and all but seal the win.

Two more trips to the line proved to be it, as Heidelberg polished off the victory.

Heidelberg held the overall edge on rebounding 39-38, but were dominated on the offensive glass by the Muskies, 17-9. MU converted those 17 offensive board to 23 second-chance points.

Three Muskies spread the wealth with three double-digit scorers. Carson Carter led the way with 18, followed by Jayson Peoples with 17, and Trey Singleton tallied 12.

"I didn't feel like we played great defensively, but we did play with confidence on offense, which makes up for those defensive errors," continued Coach Bucheit. "The guys have been battle tested all season and we've talked a lot about them, and it's great to see them respond and carry that over to a win."

The Student Princes begin a busy week as two home contests will sandwich a tough road match. Heidelberg will begin the week at home vs. John Carroll University on Monday, before traveling to No. 19 Capital University on Wednesday. HU will finish the tough week with a home contest on Saturday vs. the University of Mount Union.