Marietta College handcuffs Heidelberg University, 76-56

Marietta College put the clamps on Heidelberg University. The Pioneers limited the Student Princes to 21 makes out of 61 shot attempts en route to a 76-56 triumph in an Ohio Athletic Conference and Winter Weekend men’s basketball game at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

“We locked up in the second half,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal, whose Pioneers extended their win streak to seven and improved their record to 17-4 overall and 12-2 OAC. “I thought our kids did a great job (on defense). They were dialed in today, especially in the second half. The second half was probably our best half of defense all year.

“Brennan McKean has been just a lockdown defender all year. He’s been shutting the other team’s best player down all year. And, I’ve been challenging other guys to step up and play the same kind of defense Brennan’s been playing. I felt like we had a whole slew of guys that rose to that challenge, who wanted to win their matchup.”

McKean also did it on the offensive end, scoring a game-hight 19 points. RaNeal Ewing added 18, Garrett Stephenson had 14, and Luis Garcia netted nine. Andy Stegman grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and had four swats.

“We just try to be great at both ends of the floor and do whatever we have to do,” McKean said. “We’ve been working on that as a team lately to get better defensively. And everybody tonight stepped up.”

Andy Bucheit-coached Heidelberg (5-15, 1-12) was paced by Keith Mackie’s 14 points. Deonte Holder chipped in with 11, and Doug Waldmannstetter had 10. The Berg, who dropped an 82-80 decision to MC early in the season, has now lost six straight and 10 of their last 11.

Sparked by McKean’s 11 points and Stephenson’s eight, Marietta staked itself to a 37-31 halftime advantage. There were three lead changes and three ties during the opening 20 minutes of play.

Early on, the Pioneers had a double-digit lead, 16-5, but HU bounced back to take a four-point 29-25 advantage.

MC answered that with a 10-0 run on buckets by Eddie Grenert, A.J. Davis, Ewing, and Garcia to make it 35-29.

Early in the second half, Marietta stretched its lead to double digits again, 46-34, on Stegman’s putback and bonus freebie. HU was able to cut it to six, 48-42, on consecutive treys by Cole Williams and Holder, but that, as it turned out, would be as close as the Student Princes would get.

With 3:27 remaining, Ewing beat the shot clock with a long, halfcourt three-bank to make it 69-54. After that make, the MC lead continued to bulge.

“That was a crazy shot (by Ewing),” said McKean, laughing. “I’m just happy it went in.”

Added VanderWal, “That was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. That was a big relief to see that one go in.”