MC’s Amazing Avery Williams

Junior’s double-double leads Pioneers past Quakers

Photo courtesy of Nate Knobel Marietta College’s Avery Williams, left, goes up with the ball during a college men’s basketball game against Wilmington Saturday at Ban Johnson Arena.

Avery Williams had a monster game in the paint.

The 6-foot-7 junior pivot player posted a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds to help Marietta College whip Wilmington College, 80-65, in Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball action at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

“I just tried to inspire these guys, come out with a lot of energy, and play my tail off,” said Williams, who also had four assists. “It was Senior Day, and we had to get one for the seniors.”

Marietta’s seniors, who all were recognized before the opening tip-off, were Dillon Young, Connor McCreary, and Isiah Barbra.

Caleb Hoyng, a non-starter, paced the MC offense with a game-high 16 points. Kyle Dixon added 14 on 6-of-6 from the floor in 12 minutes of play, while Young and Anthony Wallace had 11 and 10, respectively.Young also collected seven caroms and had four dimes.

Mike Hall, a former Warren Warrior, started his first game as a Pioneer cager, and contributed eight points, including two dunks.

Marietta, winners of five of its last six games, improved its record to 18-5 overall (12-4 OAC). The Pioneers are currently in second place in the OAC standings, one game behind No. 24 nationally-ranked John Carroll University (19-4, 13-3).

Wilmington fell to 10-12 overall (6-10 OAC). Christian Jones and Will Patrick each had 10 points to lead the Quakers, who shot 33.3 percent (19-57) from the field.

“Coaches were just telling us that if we want to win, we’ve got to come out, be sharp, lock up, make sure we get shots, and the big thing was to rebound the basketball,” Williams said. “So, I did that to the best of my ability today.”

Indeed he did.

“He (Williams) was dominant down there and did a great job on the glass on both ends,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal. “We’ve talked a lot the last couple of days about really dominating the glass.

“We had a size advantage today. Their post guys were more perimeter guys.”

Marietta out-rebounded Wilmington, 48-32.

“We really tried to focus on our post guys having a presense,” VanderWal said. “It helped when we got (6-foot-7) Andrew Russell in foul trouble. He had three in the first half — and that was a big, big advantage for us.”

Sparked by Dixon, who scored nine of the Pioneers’ first 10 points, Marietta was up 10-4 when Wilmington signaled timeout at the 15:49 mark. Hoyng’s jumper at the 11:55 mark gave MC its first double-digit lead (18-8) of the contest — and it never dipped into single digits after that.

At halftime, Williams had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards, but more importantly, Marietta owned a commanding 46-34 advantage.

During the final minute before the intermission, Williams, with his back to the basket, made a highlight film, no-look score.

“I got the rebound, and I had players around me,” Williams said. “I was to the right of rim, and I just put it up and miraculously it went in. I was lucky.”

After the break, Marietta’s lead slowly but surely bulged to 25 points, and the home team won going away.

“We came out hard, stopping them on defense, and then running on offense,” Williams said. “I felt like we were the aggressor today and playing our basketball.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Muskingum University Wednesday at 7 p.m.