WILMINGTON, Ohio - Trailing 68-61 with 3:20 to play, the Wilmington College men's basketball team ended the game on a 10-1 run to defeat Heidelberg University 71-69 in come-from-behind fashion in the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) opener at Hermann Court on Saturday.
The Fightin' Quakers trailed by as many as 14 points (28-14) at the 6:53 mark of the first half, but a 16-2 run over the next four-and-a-half minutes capped by a DaeShawn Jackson triple got the hosts within a basket. Tamal Watkins scored the last basket off the half to give the Student Princes a 36-32 edge at halftime.
The halftime break didn't stop the Wilmington momentum as the Quakers scored the first 11 points of the second half including five points from Jeffery Mansfield and four from Abdul Kanu. Two possessions later, after Heidelberg stopped the scoreless drought with two free throws, Mansfield hit another triple, putting the Quakers on top 46-38 with 16:23 to go.
The Student Princes answered with a run of their own, this one 13-0 in just under five minutes, to regain the lead for the first time in the second half – a lead that Heidelberg would have until the final 10 seconds.
Wilmington trailed by seven with just over three minutes to play, but it was determined to break a three-game losing streak. Kanu cut the lead to five, and after two Heidelberg misses, a Jackson layup made it a single-possession game (68-65) with 1:58 to play.
Heidelberg got two opportunities to score again, and for the second consecutive possession, failed to do so. Kanu then drew a foul and made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, making the score 68-66. The Quakers were forced to foul, and it paid off as Dylan Woods also made 1-of-2 to put the visitors back up three. Jackson promptly score a quick layup, and Wilmington Head Coach K.C. Hunt called his final timeout trailing 69-68 with 11 seconds left.
The timeout paid off as Wilmington forced a five-second violation from Heidelberg. Mansfield put the team ahead with a runner in the paint with eight seconds left, and as Heidelberg was attempting to push the ball up court quickly, down 70-69, Payton Smith stole the ball at midcourt.
Matt Smith, who was fouled, made 1-of-2 free throws, and Heidelberg's last-second, half-court heave was off the mark.
"What a gutty win from our guys," Hunt said after the game. "We made a ton of winning plays at winning time. Matt Smith and Jalen Horton changed the game, and Jeffery [Mansfield] and DaeShawn [Jackson] made play after play."
Heidelberg shot a better percentage (45.6 percent to 38.5 percent) including making one more field goal. Both teams made 13 free throws, but Wilmington made double (8-4) the amount of triples.
Mansfield tied his career high in scoring with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Jackson had a season-high 17 points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Prince Benson and Woods combined for 30 points for Heidelberg in defeat.
Wilmington (2-5, 1-0 OAC) heads to Ohio Northern University on Wednesday.