Nearly an hour after the game ended, Heidelberg coach Anthony Gholson was still scratching his head trying to determine exactly what went wrong in his team's 81-59 home loss to Capital.
Going into the game, Heidelberg was in fourth place in the Ohio Athletic Conference at 8-5, just one win behind Capital which was tied for second at 9-4. A win would have put HU no lower than a tie for third. The game should have a been a barn burner, decided in the final minutes by the team that wanted it most. Instead, it was a 20-point loss in a game that never really got started.
"They just weren't all on the same page," said Gholson of his team. "Offensively or defensively. They weren't a cohesive unit on either end of the floor. I had to call a couple of timeouts just to understand what they were doing. I've never seen a Heidelberg team not be together on both ends of the floor at the same time. They were out of sync all together."
The game started off rocky for the Student Princes.
Capital jumped out to an early lead in the first five minutes before Heidelberg was assessed a team technical due to an error in the official game book. The error was brought to light when No. 25 Victor Fortkamp tried to check into the game only to find he was not listed in the book. While the Student Princes did get within five points late in the first half, Heidelberg never really joined the game as a team. By halftime, the Crusaders were ahead 42-24.
Gholson finally came up with an analysis. He compared the game to a 1979 movie, "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh." In the movie, the team was comprised of players all born within the astrology sign of Pisces. But when the moon was not right, the team just couldn't play together.
|Ashland 81, Tiffin 69|
|Ashland (11-9, 5-8): Will Evans 1-1-4; Kale Richardson 3-6-12; Evan Yates 8-4-20; David Harris 8-2-22; Jordan Berlin 3-0-9; Justin Garris 3-0-7; Blake Saunders 0-2-2; Antoine Childs 2-0-5. Totals: 28-15-81.|
|Tiffin (6-15, 4-10): Keenan Barlow 2-0-5; Rafael Cuellar 4-0-8; Brandon Harris 1-0-2; Karl Finley 6-4-18; Joe Graessle 10-1-24; Brian Scott 2-0-6; Isaiah Twine 0-0-0; Richard Morrow 2-0-4; Devin Russell 1-0-2. Totals: 28-5-69.|
|Field goals: Ashland 28-58; Tiffin 28-67.|
|Foul shots: Ashland 15-20; Tiffin 5-11.|
|3-point goals: Ashland 10-17 (Harris 4-5, Josh Berlin 3-4, Garris 1-2, Evans 1-2, Childs 1-1, Richardson 0-2); Tiffin 8-26 (Graessle 3-9, Finley 2-6, Scott 2-4, Barlow 1-6, Twine 0-1).|
|Rebounds: Ashland 43 (Yates 11); Tiffin 32 (Cuellar 8, Finley 6)|
|Turnovers: Ashland 14, Tiffin 12.|
|Assists: Ashland 14; Tiffin 17 (Cuellar 6, Graessle 5).|
"The moon was in a different spot," said Gholson. "It was just like that movie and Mona Mondieu [the astrologer who helped the fictional team] never got to the game to fix us. They were just out of sync wholistically. Everyone was just a mess. It's hard to coach when you don't know what is wrong."
On the other side of the court, Capital coach Damon Goodwin had to be feeling somewhat lucky with his good fortune in catching Heidelberg on such an off day.
"We had a real rough game two nights ago, and didn't play really well," Goodwin said. "It was important for us to come back and play well. We were on the road and lost. It's tough on the road in this league. Any day you get a win on the road, it's a big day for the program."
The win for Capital was certainly not an upset for Heidelberg, but the lopsided score was not what anyone had anticipated or expected. Capital is solid team in the league and promised to be a formidable foe for the Student Princes. But, a blowout?
Capital (15-6) held Heidelberg (10-11) to a season-low 59 points. The last time the Student Princes scored so few points was a 59-58 win in the season-opener versus Ohio Wesleyan.
Kyle Tuley led Heidelberg in scoring with 14 points, while Dane Givner had eight points and seven rebounds. Darion Capers, who has averaged 12 points per game, scored just one point in the outing.
D.J. Frazier led Capital with 18 points and eight rebounds. The Crusaders' leading scorer, Scott Robertson, had 14 points and five rebounds, while Spencer Niekamp added 12 points. Even more important to the win was the Crusader defense. Tuley was the only Student Prince to score in double digits and Heidelberg shot 32.2 percent (21 of 65) from the field.
"I think we did things right," said Goodwin. "We defended them fairly well and made it tough for them to score. Heidelberg just had a bad day. We've all had them and it's tough to be there. They are a very good basketball team."