Both Heidelberg and Wilmington came into Saturday's game with an even 9-9 record. It was evident one team would start the week with a winning record, while the other would have a losing record. Unfortunately, it wasn't Heidelberg's day as a Wilmington took it to the Student Princes in the second half in a 76-59 victory.
For Wilmington coach K.C. Hunt, it was all about committing less turnovers and making Heidelberg work for its points after the half.
"I thought in the first half we didn't do a very good job with finishing around the basket, we missed a lot of easy shots and then the big key was we turned the ball over 10 turns in the first half and only four in the second. We didn't give them advantage situations like we did in the first half and I thought that was the reason we won the game," Hunt said.
Wilmington (10-9, 7-5 Ohio Athletic Conference) also owned the glass the second half, getting 20 rebounds.
"I thought we did an excellent job on the glass, rebounding the ball. I don't think we were leading on the glass at the half and we finished the game leading by four," Hunt said.
For Hunt, the win was a big one and a sigh of relief. Heidelberg squeaked out a 73-71 victory against the Quakers on the road Dec. 22.
Wilmington 76, Heidelberg 59
Wilmington (10-9, 7-5): Klarke Ransome 2-0-4; Malcolm Heard II 8-5-23; Brandon Candella 2-7-12; Taylor Wellman 2-0-4; Miles Bankston 4-2-10; Dwight Johnson 4-2-10; Tre Stennett 1-0-3; Jordan Berlin 1-3-6; Tim Pfeiffer 0-0-0; Ethan Fite 1-2-4; Taylor Kin 0-0-0; Ben McGriff 0-0-0; Christian Patterson 0-0-0. Totals: 25-21-76.
Heidelberg (9-10, 4-8): Dane Givner 3-2-8; Mike Petrie 2-0-5; Ishaam Smith Jr. 3-0-6; Jackson Blue 4-0-8; Nate Davis 7-3-17; Quintin Aden Jr. 0-0-0; Lee Renner 2-0-5; Jack Hart 0-0-0; Frank Longhino 0-0-0; Josh Pollner 1-0-2; Jahlen Teague 0-0-0; Keith Mackie 2-0-6; Doug Waldmannstetter 0-2-2. Totals: 24-7-59.
Halftime: Heidelberg, 37-33.
Field goals: Wilmington 25-49; Heidelberg 24-68.
3-point goals: Wilmington 5-11 (Heard II 2, Candella, Berlin, Stennett); Heidelberg 4-23 (Mackie 2, Renner, Petrie).
Foul shots: Wilmington 21-27; Heidelberg 7-8.
Rebounds: Wilmington 38 (Heard II 10); Heidelberg 34 (Davis 11).
Turnovers: Wilmington 14; Heidelberg 14.
Assists: Wilmington 6 (Berlin 2, Candella 2); Heidelberg 8 (Davis 3, Givner 3).
"It was a big game for us, obviously they got us at our place. We definitely had a mind on revenge and I thought our kids played real well in the second half tonight. They competed and rebounded the way we needed to," Hunt said.
The Student Princes only committed four turnovers in the first half and even out-rebounded Wilmington 18-16, but a weak 15-for-38 shooting effort set the tone for the second half where Heidelberg shot just 30 percent overall.
Heidelberg coach Anthony Gholson noticed it right away.
"We took a lot of bad shots; it was a bad shooting performance by us," he said.
Shooting wasn't the only thing that hurt Heidelberg.
"The last couple of days, they haven't been working very hard," Gholson said. "They just need to work hard. You can't get out of anything; you can't get out of any hole that you dug yourself into unless you're willing to fight for that. I'm not sure right now they're where they should be mentally to get out of that hole. We just have to keep fighting."
Individually, Nate Davis ended with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. No other player saw double digits.
Malcolm Heard II led Wilmington with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Three others contributed with double-digit efforts.
The loss moves Heidelberg to 9-10, 4-8 in the OAC.
"I thought this was a game we needed to (win). I thought we would respond with a better effort," Gholson said.
Still there's games to played, the next one being at John Carroll. In the last matchup, John Carroll came out on top, 83-77. In order to pick up the win, Gholson says his men have to fight for it.
"It's gonna be a dogfight up in Carroll (John Carroll). Unless these guys are willing to fight, it's going to be another situation like this one," Gholson said. "Man up. It's time to man up. If you are not willing to man up then you can't do this. This is not for you."