WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team suffered a close 76-70 loss in an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) overtime showdown against Marietta College on Friday night.
The entire first half was played within a 10-point window as each squad lead by no more than five points. Trailing 30-29 with 2:30 to play in the half, three consecutive Fightin' Quaker baskets, two coming from Jackson Todd, gave the hosts a 35-30 advantage. The Pioneers (4-1) closed out the half with two free throws and left for the locker room trailing by a single possession, 35-32.
Neither team could find a rhythm in the second half as the fouls, 46 were called in all in the 45-minute contest, mounted for both sides. Marietta broke the 10-point span with an old-fashioned, three-point play from Jason Ellis midway through the half that put the Pioneers on top 51-44. Wilmington answered and quickly, however, as four points form both Jeffery Mansfield and Hunter Ruckel tallied an 8-0 run to put the hosts back on top. Three minutes later, it was the Quakers' turn to lead by more than five as a Collmann Aaron three-pointer off a pass from Mansfield made the score 60-54 with 5:20 to play.
Both teams went back and forth for the final minutes of regulation. Marietta looked to finish the game as it had possession up 64-62 with under a minute left, but a missed triple followed by an offensive rebound and putback from Noah Dado tied the game 64-64. Lukas Isaly's fade-away triple at the buzzer was well off the mark and the two teams went into overtime.
Marietta, which had struggled to finish at the rim during regulation, thanks in large part to Wilmington's defensive efforts, did so in the extra session, scoring on its first four possessions to lead 72-68 midway through. A Todd layup with 57 seconds left pulled Wilmington back within a possession (73-70), but the Quakers couldn't deliver a stop on the ensuing Pioneer possession as Ellis slashed to the rim and scored to put the game away.
Both teams made exactly 23 field goals with the Quakers holding a sleight 7-6 edge in triples, but the Pioneers made up the difference at the free throw line by converting 24-of-32 (75.0 percent) attempts compared to 17-of-22 (77.3 percent) for Wilmington. The Hosts won the rebounding battled 42-39, but committed five more turnovers.
Mansfield once again filled the stat sheet, scoring a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) to go along with six assists and two steals in 41 minutes played. Bilal Sow chipped in 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting while Dado missed his first collegiate double-double by a bucket with eight points and a dozen rebounds.
Four Pioneers scored in double figures including Ellis and Jac Alexander, both of which finished with 16 points.
Wilmington (2-5) will travel to Marietta tomorrow (Saturday) for a 6 p.m. contest at Ban Johnson Arena.