Triple overtime: MC downs Quakers, faces Mount in OAC title tilt

Marietta College played the drama card again.

The Pioneer men staged a second-half rally, and then needed three overtimes to defeat Wilmington College, 111-106, in an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal at Ban Johnson Arena Thursday night.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal, whose second-seeded Pioneer cagers (19-7) will now face Mount Union in a championship game at BJA at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Purple Raiders beat top-seeded Capital University, 63-59, in Thursday’s other OAC semi.

“We had to make a free-throw at the end of regulation to send it into OT,” VanderWal said. “Then, we had to hit a three to send it into a second OT. Then, we had to hit a three to send it to a third OT. It looked like we were dead in the water three times. We just made so many plays and found a way to extend the game. I’m just so proud of our kids.”

Jacob (J.O.) Owens paced the navy blue and white winners with a career-high 29 points, including the three that sent the game into double OT. Tyler Hammond and J.J. Martin each had 27 points, and non-starter Garrett Stephenson netted 11.

“It was just a great effort as a team,” said Hammond, whose point total was also a career high.

“We’d get down, and then J.O. would hit a big shot. I just felt like everyone had a good game.”

Martin also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, and Stephenson collected eight.

Owens, Hammond and Martin each was recently named to the All-OAC men’s basketball team.

Wilmington, which was defeated twice during regular-season play by the Pioneers, was led by Malcolm Heard, who tallied a double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

“Thank goodness Malcolm Heard fouled out, because we had no answer for him,” VanderWal said.

Also for the Quakers (14-13), Brandon Candella chipped in with 22 points and nine boards; Dwight Johnson netted 16 points; Miles Bankston had a double-double with 12 markers and 10 caroms; and non-starter Jordan Berlin tallied 11 points.

The game featured 10 ties and nine lead changes.

Wilmington, which never trailed in the opening half, led 36-31 at the intermission.

After Heard scored on an alley-oop to start the second half, Marietta had a 7-0 run on points by Owens, Jason Humphrey, and Hammond to knot the score at 38-all.

Marietta then took its first lead, 42-40, of the game on Martin’s rim jam at the 15:14 mark. It then went back and forth for the remainder of the second half until Heard’s bucket gave the Quakers a 75-74 lead with 33 seconds left.

MC looked all but beat until Scott Kimmey threw a full-court length pass to Stephenson, who was fouled on the play. Stephenson made one of two at the line to send the contest into an extra session.

In the first OT, the Pioneers needed Owens’ triple with four seconds left to tie the score 83-83 and send it into a second extra session.

In the second OT, Martin’s trey with one second remaining tied the score 96-96, and extended the contest to a third overtime.

MC then outpointed Wilmington, 15-10 in the third extra session to claim the victory.

This season, Marietta has beaten Capital on a last-second shot, downed Heidelberg in double OT, lost to Capital in OT, and defeated Baldwin-Wallace with a late shot.