Double overtime thriller: MC outlasts Berg, 92-89

Marietta College needed two overtimes to defeat upset-minded Heidelberg University, 92-89, in Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball action at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

Make that two extra sessions and a lot of bench firepower.

Non-starters’ Tyler Worstell, and Garrett Stephenson scored 22 and 20 points, respectively, to lead the Pioneers, who improved their record to 16-5 overall and 12-2 in the OAC. The navy blue and white cagers stayed atop the league standings with Capital University, which beat John Carroll University 82-61 on Saturday.

“When I came into the game, I had a freshman on me,” said Worstell, a 5-foot-11 MC senior. “Things kind of opened up for me, and I decided he wasn’t going to keep me out of the paint – and he didn’t.”

All of Worstell’s points came in the second half and in the two OTs.

“He’s our unsung hero,” said Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal. “Today he played like Michael Jordan out there. He was incredible.”

J.J. Martin added 18 points and nine caroms, and Tyler Hammond netted 17 markers for the winners. Stephenson had a double-double as he also grabbed 10 rebounds.

“Garrett Stephenson had a big time game,” VanderWal said. “He kind of came out of his shell a little bit today and arrived.”

Heidelberg (9-12, 4-10) was paced by Mike Petrie, who scored a game-high 26 points on eight of 11 from behind the arc. The Berg junior only had three points at the intermission.

For the Student Princes, Ishaam Smith Jr. added 18 points on four of eight from 3-point range; Nate Davis chipped in with 16 markers and a game-high 17 boards; Dane Givner netted 12 points, all in the first half; and Jackson Blue had eight markers and eight caroms.

Sparked by Givner’s dozen first-half points, Heidelberg staked itself to a 39-27 advantage. The Berg shot 50 percent from the floor (15-30), and had the Pioneers reeling.

MC couldn’t hardly buy a bucket, making just 13 of 35 shot attempts, and no 3-balls (0-6).

“We just didn’t bring any kind of energy (in the first half),” Worstell said. “The best crowd all year, and we really laid an egg in the first half.”

Said VanderWal, “We probably played as bad of a first half as we could possibly play.”

Immediately after the break, Jacob Owens drained Marietta’s first three of the contest to reduce the deficit to single digits. But then, Heidelberg scored eight unanswered points on a Davis fade and two consecutive Smith threes to stretch its lead to 17 points at the 17:47 mark.

“It looked like we were dead,” VanderWal said. “But then I think when it got up to 17, our kids finally started making some plays – and we’re a dangerous ballclub when we start making plays.”

Led by Hammons, Worstell, Stephenson and A.J. Ireland, Marietta went on an 11-0 run, and cut the lead to six, 47-41. At the 8:54 mark, Worstell’s driving layup tied the score at 52-all, and then Stephenson’s bucket put the Pioneers up by two.

After that, it was back and forth until the final minute of regulation when two Worstell freebies gave the Pioneers a six point cushion (70-64) with 26 seconds left.

The Student Princes were not done yet, though, as Petrie knocked down two long threes, making it 70-70 and sending the game into OT.

In the first extra session, MC needed Worstell’s long 3-ball with 10 second left to send it into a second overtime with the scored tied at 79-all.

In the second OT, it went back and forth again until Hammond scored his team’s last seven points to secure the victory. One of his buckets came on a steal and uncontested layup with four seconds remaining, making it 91-86.

Amazingly, though, Petrie banked home a three to cut it to three, but then his desperation shot with time expiring from halfcourt was off the mark.

“That game was probably one for the ages,” VanderWal said. “Our kids made a ton of plays, and their kids made a ton of plays. We just got lucky enough to make enough for us in the end.”