Heidelberg's Dane Givner was so good Saturday, he had Muskingum coach Gene Ford feeling generous.
"The best thing," Ford said after watching his team lose 92-67, "is Givner's a senior. When he graduates I'm gonna get him a graduation present."
Givner did everything well Saturday, slicing through the Muskies defense for 28 points and three assists. He went 13 of 15 from the floor; his only two misses were from 3-point range.
Givner also had six rebounds, two steals and a block.
"We've been thinking a little too much about the game and not letting it come to us," Givner said, "instead of just going out there and enjoying the time that we have."
Givner played 27 minutes; he was able to sit out the final minutes after HU built a large advantage.
"He had a great game today," Heidelberg coach Anthony Gholson said. "He should play like that all the time, because he has that kind of ability. It's good to see him break out of his shell in a conference game and do what he's supposed to do. He's one of our leaders."
It was an enjoyable day all around for Heidelberg, who scored the game's first 10 points, never lost the lead, and brought defensive pressure that Muskingum had trouble handling.
The Muskies were forced into just 10 turnovers, but shot just 22 of 60 from the floor.
"We pressed them a little bit today; we thought that would work out well for us," Gholson said. "It's one of those teams where not everybody handles it great. We have a theme where we say 'pressure throughout the possession.' If we can keep that on them the whole possession, then I think things will happen for us."
Ford said Muskingum had problems against HU's defense.
"Their pressure did bother us, because they are athletic," Ford said. "We weren't able to beat their pressure and make them pay for it."
Heidelberg was solid in the first 20 minutes and took a 41-32 lead into halftime. Muskingum started the second half on a bit of a run, getting baskets from Isaiah Shakespeare and Dave Brown to cut the HU lead to 41-36. With Muskingum trailing 43-38, the Muskies forced a turnover and Shakespeare had a wide open 3 from the right wing.
But it missed, and 'Berg responded with a run of its own. Givner nailed a jumper, and a Jack Hart steal set up Aden for a wide open and a 48-38 lead with 15:32 left.
HU never looked back.
"And that's been the story," Ford said of his 1-12, 0-6 team. "Your team cannot be that fragile, and we are."
While Givner had the best day, other Student Princes had big games. Nate Davis had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Hart had 11 points and four rebounds in just 10 minutes. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was 5 of 6 from the floor.
"I just went out there and played physical like Coach has been telling me," Hart said. "Got out there and did the job that I have assigned to myself. Pretty much all there is to it."
Gholson said he was glad to have Hart on the court.
"If he plays like that for the next three years, we'll have a pretty good player," he said.
Heidelberg got six assists and five points from Quintin Aden, and eight points from Ishaam Smith.
Muskingum was led by Brown, who had 20 points, and Christian Keller, who had 13.
The Student Princes won their second-consecutive OAC game, improving to 7-6, 2-4.
Givner hopes it's the start of a run.
"We've all decided it's time to turn things around," Givner said. "We're clearly one of the better teams in the league, and we haven't been playing up to our talent level, nor our ability. So, we feel that it's time to turn it up, and the only way we can do it is with everybody."