Updated Sat, Jan 11, 2014 7:31 pm
The Marietta Pioneers men’s basketball team rebounded from their first loss in Ohio Athletic Conference play with a win over the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets 97-86.
Playing their first game of the New Year back at home after a long eight-day break, it took a while for the Pioneers (10-4, 5-1 in OAC) to get warmed up as they battled the Yellow Jackets (7-6, 3-3 in OAC) for dominance in the opening minutes.
Marietta looked in control for the majority of the first half, leading by a high of six before Baldwin Wallace really kicked itself into gear in the final few minutes.
The Pioneers held a four-point lead with 7:20 remaining in the half when the Yellow Jackets began to catch fire. Baldwin Wallace would tie it at 37 all and, with a little over six minutes remaining, took only its second lead of the contest to that point.
A layup by junior guard Andy Dollman put Marietta up 53-49 as the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime.
The Pioneers jumped on Baldwin Wallace early and they would not lose the lead for the rest of the game as they cruised to their fifth win in Ohio Athletic Conference play.
Many things contributed to the second half meltdown of the Yellow Jackets but one thing that stood out was their free throw shooting. They shot an abysmal 61 percent from the charity stripe on 25-of-41 while the Pioneers made 28-of-34 for a free throw percentage of 82.4.
Dollman led the team in scoring with 24 points, also adding three rebounds and two assists.
Sophomore wing player Luis Garcia contributed 22 points and junior forward Garrett Stephenson had 16 points and five rebounds.
The Yellow Jackets had three players with more than 20 points including standout junior guard Jaron Crowe who led the team with 29 points and five rebounds. However outside of those three players, the team only produced only 12 points.
Senior point guard Tyler Hammond, after he was arrested for an OVI over the weekend, sat out for a second consecutive game, his second extended stay on the sidelines after he violated team policy and was suspended from play for four games earlier this season.
Marietta will look to continue its strong play in the OAC when it pays a visit to Alliance, Ohio, to face off against Mount Union Purple Raiders on Wednesday, Jan. 15.
The last time these two met last season, the Pioneers beat the Purple Raiders in the OAC Tournament 80-76 in overtime. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.