WILMINGTON – The Wilmington College men’s basketball team held No. 11 Marietta College to under 30 percent shooting Saturday in a stunning 68-62 victory in a defensive Ohio Athletic Conference game at Fred Raizk Arena.
“We did a great job making everything difficult for them,” WC head coach K.C. Hunt said. “It was a high-level defensive effort for us.”
The win was the Fightin’ Quakers’ first over the Pioneers since Feb. 27, 2014.
Things don’t get any easier for the Quakers. WC will host OAC-leading and No. 21-ranked Capital University 7 p.m. Wednesday. It will be Senior Night for Wilmington College.
The Quakers, 16-6 overall and 12-4 in the OAC, have clinched a home game in the first round of the OAC post-season tournament.
On Saturday against Marietta, 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 long distance.
Individually, Kevin Lewis led all scorers with 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field while also tallying a team-high eight rebounds. Will Patrick was the other Quaker to score in double figures with 13.
“Kevin [Lewis] was huge on both ends of the floor,” Hunt said.
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. WC went up 23-15 on the strength of a three-pointer by Lewis and a layup by Colin Myers.
A Marietta basket was answered by a 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 the break.
The Quakers maintained at least a six-point cushion until a Jason Ellis three at 8:36 of the second half made it 49-44. It was just the Pioneers’ second long-distance basket of the game.
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 three 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 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.