Updated Fri, Jan 24, 2014 8:47 pm
The Marietta Pioneers will look to continue their 2-game win streak, as they take on another strong Ohio Athletic Conference opponent in Wilmington College on Saturday, Jan. 25.
The Pioneers (12-4, 7-2) have made a habit of drawing out their games to the last minute this season, often fighting in the last few minutes to maintain their lead just long enough for the final buzzer but this tactic may not work against the Quakers (10-5, 7-2).
Wilmington likes to play aggressive basketball in the first half, scoring an average of 39 points to Marietta’s 39.2 since the teams’ first meeting on Dec. 7, giving the Pioneers a slight advantage.
Another factor working against the Quakers is their seeding in the OAC. Wilmington currently sit in third place, looking up at second place Marietta with identical conference records but the Pioneers own the better overall record.
Marietta will also be away from its home court where they have gone 5-2 but have also found themselves in tight contests, winning by the slimmest of margins.
Coach Jon VanderWal will also need to plan for Wilmington’s senior forward Malcolm Heard II who dropped 23 points on Marietta in the last matchup and will be looking for revenge after the team’s 98-77 defeat at the hands of the Pioneers.
Heard II is averaging 17.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals for the Quakers and is currently the leader in both scoring and rebounds.
If Marietta hopes to beat Wilmington, it must first neutralize Heard II and it has the perfect man in Andy Dollman. The Pioneers starting point guard has filled in spectacularly for senior point guard Tyler Hammond, who is out indefinitely after being arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence.
Dollman is averaging 12.9 points a game alongside 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Also aiding Dollman will be wing player RaNeal Ewing.
The standout sophomore has been great for the Pioneers, averaging 12.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He also splashed 6-of-13 of his shots on his way to 26 points in his last contest against the Quakers.
With Dollman and Ewing playing top-level basketball, Marietta will hope to replicate its earlier season result against Wilmington.
Tipoff is set for 3 p.m.