Men's Basketball punches ticket to OAC tourney

WILMINGTON - The Heidelberg men's basketball team had four players in double figures, including a double-double by Isaiah Young, en route to a 79-70 victory over Wilmington College on Saturday. HU closes the regular season winning three of their final five games. With the win, the Student Princes punched their ticket to this week's OAC Tournament.

HU improved to 15-10 overall and 11-7 in OAC action, while Wilmington finished 9-16, 5-13.

John Carroll and Mount Union finished as the top two seeds in the six-team, single-elimination OAC Tournament and received first-round byes. Heidelberg and Otterbein tied for third, but HU holds the tie-breaker by virtue of the regular season sweep. Marietta and Capital tied for fifth, but split in the regular season. Their tie-breaker advanced to how the squads fared against teams progressing down the standings -- and the first difference was Marietta splitting with Heidelberg, compared to Capital getting swept by The Berg.

Thus -- No. 3 Heidelberg hosts No. 6 Capital on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The winner travels to No. 2 Mount Union on Thursday. No. 4 Otterbein hosts No. 5 Marietta, with that winner traveling to No. 1 John Carroll.

On Saturday, HU jumped out to an early 5-0 lead following a Zane Leitwein three and a Tre Watkins jumper. Watkins then hit one from behind the arc to stretch the lead to 8-2. A 7-0 run from the home team allowed the Quakers to take the lead 9-8 early in the period. 

Markell Johnson-Nichols gave Heidelberg the lead back 10-9, following a jump shot. Neither team would score for nearly two minutes but a Zachary Chatmon three gave the Student Princes the three-point cushion. 

With 6:24 left in the first half of play, Amil Jenkins helped push the visitors lead to 10 following a layup in the paint. Later, Leitwein found a lane and laid one in for two to give the Berg their largest lead of the half, 32-17. 

Wilmington's Matthew Dugue got a layup in before the half to cut into the Heidelberg lead, 37-26 at the break. 

The start of the second half saw a 9-3 run from the hosts to cut their deficit to just five. Later in the quarter, a triple-hit by Young gave The Berg a 49-37 advantage with 14:53 left to play. 

Wilmington crawled back and only trailed by six, 68-62, with just under five minutes to play. Heidelberg's hot hand allowed them to keep their lead the rest of the way leading to the 79-70 victory.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Young led the way with a game-high 17 points and pulled down ten rebounds … Johnson-Nichols finished with 15 while Leitwein added 11 and Watkins tallied 10 … Heidelberg's bench scored 25 points to the hosts 15 … HU dished out 16 dimes compared to the Quakers eight. 

UP NEXT

For the third straight season, Heidelberg will host Capital in the opening round of the OAC Tournament. Ticketing information will be made available soon, with links posted on OAC.org and BergAthletics.com. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. 

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