TIFFIN, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team lost a close defensive game to Heidelberg University 69-62 in in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) matchup on Friday evening.
The Student Princes, who are receiving votes to be ranked in the most recent D3Hoops.com Top 15 Poll, scored the first nine points of the contest, forcing a time from Wilmington Head Coach K.C. Hunt three minutes in. The early timeout worked as the Fightin' Quakers rattled off 11 straight points capped by six from Jeffery Mansfield to gain an 11-9 edge at the 14:18 mark. Both sides traded baskets for the next couple of minutes until an 8-0 spurt from the visitors, this one fueled by two triples from Collmann Aaron, forced a Heidelberg timeout with the hosts trailing 21-14.
Wilmington's offense went cold, scoring a single basket in seven minutes, but its defense allowed just eight points during that span as the contest shifted back to a one-possession game. A Jackson Todd free throw with a minute to play would be the final point of the half, sending both squads to the locker room tied at 28 apiece.
Neither team could create any separation on the scoreboard in the first eight minutes of the second half. A Noah Dado layup at the midway point got WC back within one (47-46), but Heidelberg scored on three straight possession, including two triples from Zane Leitwein, to move in from 55-49 several minutes later. That six-point lead would prove to hold as the Quakers would once get within four points (66-62) with a chance to cut it even further, but a Bilal Sow triples was off the mark.
Heidelberg (8-2) shot 16 percentage points better (51-35) than Wilmington along with making seven more field goals. The Quakers countered with an 8-4 edge in triples and a 14-11 advantage in free throws made. Coincidentally, both squads grabbed 35 rebounds and committed 15 turnovers.
Mansfield led all scorers with 20 points to go along with four assists, four steals and three rebounds. Sow added 13 points and six boards off the bench. Heidelberg featured a balanced scoring attack as five Student Princes - Dylan Woods, Alex Arellano, Emmanuel Perdue, Nakhi Taylor and Leitwein - all scored in double figures.
Wilmington (3-8) will host Heidelberg tomorrow (Saturday) for the regular season finale at Fred Raizk Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.