Updated Thu, Jan 30, 2014 10:48 am
When you have 40 minutes to make as many shots as possible, missed buckets can seem arbitrary. But sometimes, one shot can make all the difference.
That was the case tonight as Marietta’s sophomore post player Eddy Grenert hit the game-winning shot with 0.4 seconds left in the game to edge the Pioneers (13-4, 8-2 Ohio Athletic Conference) men’s basketball team past the Wilmington College Quakers (10-6, 7-3) 78-76.
Marietta had a solid shooting night, going 24-for-47 from the field and making 44.4 percent of its attempted 3-pointers. The Pioneers also sank 78.6 percent of their free-throws to cement the win.
Early on, it looked as though Marietta was on its way to a blowout win as it took an eight-point lead over Wilmington after good free-throw attempts from sophomore wing player Luis Garcia. It gave Marietta a 20-12 lead but the Pioneers went flat from there, immediately giving up a turnover, a foul and a 3-pointer to the Quakers.
The Pioneers’ main focus was to stop Wilmington standout forward Malcolm Heard II, which Marietta coach VanderWal said they did an insufficient job of doing.
“We came into the game wanting to keep Heard in control,” VanderWal said. “We didn’t do a very good job of that.”
Heard II made some very decisive buckets down the stretch and tied the score at 34 with about two minutes before halftime. He also provided an assist to RJ Leppert for a good 3-pointer that gave the Quakers a one point lead with 1:25 left in the second half.
He would finish with 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting and 8-9 free throws with only two other Quakers scoring in double figures.
The spark for Marietta was reserve player Garcia who led the Pioneers with 29 points off the bench while also grabbing seven rebounds. But the real story for Marietta was Grenert, who played 23 minutes while recording 13 points, three rebounds, an assist and a block.
Grenert showed why he deserved to play so many minutes in this game, grabbing a defensive rebound with 25 seconds and then splashing the game-winning shot as time expired.
“There were a couple seconds where everyone in the gym held their breath,” VanderWal said.
The Pioneers continue to sit in second place in the OAC standings one game behind Mount Union, whose game against Heidelberg was postponed due to weather conditions.
Marietta will now look forward to its game on Wednesday, Jan. 29 against Otterbein University.
The last contest between these two teams was last season on December 4, where the Pioneers blew out the Cardinals out 90-62. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.