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Heidelberg men vs. Wilmington

January 9, 2010 - Zach Baker

This game will be the true test, perhaps the first one -- to see how good Heidelberg is and if it can compete for an Ohio Athletic Conference title. Wilmington is undefeated in the OAC and is ranked 19th in the country. The Quakers also have four players averaging better than 10 points a game.

If the Student Princes win today, they'll be tied with Wilmington for first place. I don't believe it's overstating it to say today's game is HU's most important since its national tournament appearance in 2008.

With 10:19 left in the first half, Heidelberg leads Wilmington, 15-14. So far, it's been a defensive battle, with each team registering blocks and Wilmington forcing Heidelberg into a 10 second violation. HU needs to show it can beat Wilmington's press.

With a little less than six minutes to go in the half, Heidelberg trails Wilmington, 27-22. The Quakers have the best defense in the OAC, or at least that's how it looks to me. Heidelberg coach Anthony Gholson likes to use a large number of players, but so far, the group with the least experience is having trouble with the press -- we've had a 10 second violation and a turnover caused by trying to avoid one. It also appears Wilmington is starting to win things up front.

-With three minutes left, Heidelberg's Dane Givner has just run off seven straight points to put Heidelberg ahead, 31-29. Givner has 11 to lead all scorers. One was a 3, two were layups. Givner also had a steal during the stretch.

-Wilmington leads Heidelberg, 36-33 at the break.

Travis Kinn just recorded his fourth foul, and there's barely 17 minutes left. We probably won't see him for a while. Meanwhile, Dane Givner is on a roll. He's scored all seven of Heidelberg's points (it trails 45-40) and has 18, which has to be a career high.

Heidelberg is winning the rebounding, 19-14. The problem for the Princes is making 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Heidelberg appears to have found an answer to the press--- push and find someone under the basket. It's 52-48 Wilmington at the 13:35 mark. Wilmington's Brandon Rogers, Tyler Ledford and R.J. Brown all have scored in double digits for Wilmington. These guys can shoot. 

Brandon Rogers just made a pair of free throws, pushing his total to 18 points, and pushing Wilmington's lead to 62-56. HU's Kyle Tuley just missed a pair of free throws. 9:14 remains.

-Wilmington has pushed its lead to 66-58 with 7:25 remaining. Aside from Givner (who now has 22 points), Heidelberg is really struggling from the outside. Matt Grieves just missed the front end of a one-and-one. After not playing in the holiday non-conference game, the former defensive lineman has nine points.'

Heidelberg has missed its last four free throws, Two have been the front ends of one-and ones. Wilmington's Tyler White splits a pair, which pushes Wilmington to a 67-58 lead, its biggest of the game. What hurts Heidelberg is that it has eight fouls, and the way its shooting free throws right now, that's a big issue. Wilmington is in the two  shot bonus, and has been for some time. It's 69-60 after a Nate Davis jam. He was fouled, but missed the free throw. White just hit a 3 to answer, and I dare say this one is over. After Kinn splits a pair of free throws (breaking a streak of six straight Heidelberg misses), it's 72-61 with 4:14 left.

Timeout, Heidelberg.

Heidelberg has missed more than half its free throws. Proving that when it rains it pours, Josh Calver-- arguably Heidelberg's most clutch free throw shooter, just missed two. Heidelberg is 6 of 17 from the foul line in the second half, after making 5 of 6 in the first half.

Heidelberg won't lose this game on foul shooting alone. But the complexion of the game changes when you give up 11 points in a half.

Heidelberg trails, 74-63, with 1:45 left.

With 45 seconds left, it's just a matter of time. 77-66 Wilmington. Maybe some free throws will add to that in the final.


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