Some would argue the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon is lying on a couch with a nice, comfortable cushion.
There was no couch, but Marietta did have a nice cushion to sit on.
The Pioneers built a 24-point second half lead over Heidelberg, but the Student Princes fought back, trimming the lead to nine. Marietta's cushion turned out to be enough to hold on as the Pioneers left Seiberling Gymnasium with a 75-63 win.
Basketball is a game in which runs usually are a good thing. However, the run Heidelberg went on wasn't the kind coach Anthony Gholson was looking for.
"We just didn't have any energy. We went on a 20-minute no-energy run," Gholson said. "We had energy the first 10 minutes of the game, and then none the second half of the first half. Then none the first half of the second half. That's 20 minutes you can't overcome. Against a good basketball team, you can't overcome that."
Marietta coach Jon VanderWal saw the same division in the game.
"I thought we got outplayed the first few minutes of the game," he said. "Then I thought we played pretty well the remainder of the first half, and came out well the beginning of the second half and played pretty strong."
Heidelberg trailed by 24 with a little more than 11 minutes to play before mounting a furious charge. The Student Princes knocked down three straight 3-pointers, two from Lee Renner and one from Ishaam Smith, to climb back into the game.
"It's good to have Lee Renner coming off the bench, because he has been a starter for us," Gholson said. "He hit a couple big shots to get us going again. We just got to get a few other guys going."
A basket and a pair of foul shots from Dane Givner brought Heidelberg even closer and a jumper from Nate Davis trimmed the deficit to nine with three minutes to play.
With the lead still at nine, Marietta's J.J. Martin had a layup then knocked down a trifecta to ice the game.
"I was a little bit disappointed in how we handled the 20-point lead," VanderWal said. "We started making some mental errors. Heidelberg started making some shots; we started missing some shots. It got a little bit hairy there at the end and that's a credit to Heidelberg's kids for not giving up."
Martin hit 10 of 11 shots from the field on the afternoon, finishing with a game-high 24 points.
Marietta (6-2, 3-0 Ohio Athletic Conference) built its lead on the strength of its inside game in the first half. The Pioneers got a number of good looks at the basket, and shot 18 of 30 (60 percent) over the first 20 minutes.
"I thought the first half our low-post play really gave us a spark," VanderWal said. "Garrett Stephenson and Matt Napier and some of our big kids off the bench I thought that gave us a spark in the first half. We were able to score a lot of buckets right around the hoop."
Heidelberg improved on the defensive in the second half, holding the Pioneers to 45 percent shooting. Gholson said it was due to the energy factor.
"It was just the energy thing, and the scouting report and following what we write up for you," he said. "That's basically all it was. They started forcing them into shots those guys can't make. But they're a good basketball team. That's why they're one of the top teams in our league. We're just in a funk right now; we got to get out of."
Givner led Heidelberg (4-5, 0-4 OAC) with 15 points. Nate Davis added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.