Crusaders use second-half spurt to take down Heidelberg

Student Princes manage just 26 points in 2nd half

Heidelberg's Michael Davis is pressured by Capital's John Burnham during the first half of a basketball game on Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018. Jonathon Bird

Damon Goodwin wasn’t thrilled with Capital’s defense in the first half.

The Crusaders held a 41-39 lead over Heidelberg at the half, but their coach thought his team was living dangerously.

“We went into halftime, I was pretty upset that we’d give them 39,” Goodwin said. “Were a team that’s not built to give up 80 points and I think that we’re gonna be in a good situation.”

Capital’s defense recovered. And an 11-2 run to start the second half proved to be the difference, as the Crusaders hung on for a 71-65 win at Seiberling Gymnasium.

“Defensively, the second half, we did a much better job of boxing out, a much better job of rebounding, and until late, containing their drivers.”

Heidelberg's Mike Mason plays defense against Capital's Tyler Jamison during the first half of a basketball game on Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018. Jonathon Bird

Heidelberg lost for the third time in four games. It really struggled offensively after the break, shooting 10 for 32 (31.3 percent) from the floor.

“I thought we executed really well offensively to counter some of their scores out of the half, we just didn’t make the shots,” Heidelberg coach Andy Bucheit said. “We could have been better defensively, but I think the bigger key was we didn’t convert on the open shots we got.”

Capital got going right away in the second half. Joey Weingartner — who led all scorers with 20 — drained a jumper, and Will Hannah followed with two free throws to put the Crusaders up 45-39.

Heidelberg’s Kiere Bennie countered with a deep 2, but Cameron Caldwell made a basket, Austin Schreck converted a layup and Hannah delivered another to push the Capital lead to 10. When Schreck split a pair of free throws at the 15:50 mark, the Crusaders led 52-41.

And that was a problem for Heidelberg for three reasons:

1. Capital doesn’t turn the ball over; it had 16 miscues all night.

2. Even when they didn’t score, the Crusaders were content to be patient on offense, often melting 25 seconds or more before attempting a shot.

3. Capital was in the bonus in a hurry.

“That was a big (thing) for us,” Goodwin said. “Even though we missed some free throws, we got into it early, but I think (Heidelberg) knew they had to kind of back off. It may have made them a little less aggressive.”

The Crusaders (10-10, 6-7 Ohio Athletic Conference) finished 14 of 24 from the stripe. They had four players score in double figures, with Caleb Cox collecting 13 points and nine rebounds, Hannah getting 11 points, eight boards and eight assists, and Schreck adding 10 points.

Capital’s Tyler Jamison had eight points and Dan Auble had seven.

For Heidelberg (8-12, 4-9), Bennie had a team-high 15 points. James Hanley and Bailey Croft added 13 points each, and Myron Prewitt had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Chris Moxley added eight points and six assists for HU.

Heidelberg has five games left in the regular season. It travels to Marietta Saturday.

“I told the guys, ‘we’re a really dangerous team,” Bucheit said. “We’ve competed with the best in the country… it’s just finding some consistency.”