WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team held No. 11 Marietta College to under 30 percent shooting from the field to pull out a 68-62 victory in a defensive Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) game on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the Fightin' Quakers' first over the Pioneers since Feb. 27, 2014.
"We did a great job making everything difficult for them," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "It was a high-level defensive effort for us today."
Wilmington jumped out to an 8-2 lead three minutes into the game, but would score just two points over the next six minutes. Marietta held an 11-10 lead, but quick baskets from Andrew Russell and Jeffery Mansfield regained the advantage for the hosts. The Pioneers hung around trailing several points for the next four minutes until a triple from Kevin Lewis and a layup from Colin Myers gave the Quakers a 23-15 advantage.
A Marietta basket was answered by a Will Patrick jumper and another Lewis triple to stretch the lead to 11. A BJ Hamilton layup with 24 seconds to play in the half looked to have Wilmington going into the break up a dozen, but a Keith Richardson jumper at the buzzer made the score 37-27 at halftime.
A Lewis triple to open the second half was answered by a Kyle Dixon layup to make the score 40-29 two minutes in, but neither team scored for the next five minutes. The Quakers maintained at least a six-point cushion until a Jason Ellis triple, just the Pioneers' second long-distance basket of the game, at the 8:36 mark got the visitors within five (49-44).
Marietta, ranked No. 11 nationally in the most recent D3Hoops.com Top 25 Poll, made its push with just under five minutes to play. Trailing 54-46, the Pioneers put together a 7-1 run capped by a Dixon triple to get with two points with 3:35 to go. Lewis made 1-of-2 from the free throw line giving Marietta the ball back with a chance to tie the game, but Richardson had his pocket picked by Will Patrick who scored in transition to push the lead back up to 58-53.
The Pioneers would never get the ball back with a chance to tie it the rest of the way as the Quakers secured a critical conference win at home.
Wilmington shot 44.7 percent (21-of-47) from the field along with 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from three-point range. The Quakers' defensive effort held Marietta to a season-low 28.8 percent (17-of-59) from the field and 15.0 percent (3-of-20) from distance.
Individually, Lewis led all scorers with 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field while also tallying a team-high eight rebounds. Patrick was the other Quaker to score in double figures with 13.
"Kevin [Lewis] was huge on both ends of the floor," Hunt said.
Richardson led Marietta with 17 points in defeat. Ellis and Dixon also finished in double figures for the Pioneers.
Wilmington improves to 16-6 on the season and 12-4 in OAC play with the win. The Quakers, who have clinched a home game in the first round of the OAC Tournament in two weeks, host league-leading and No. 21 Capital University for senior night on Wednesday.