Pioneers roll: Ewing sparks MC men to triumph over Wilmington

RaNeal Ewing was Marietta College’s point-a-minute man.

The 5-foot-11 sophomore from Dublin Scioto scored a game-high 26 points in 26 minutes of action as the NCAA Division III No. 22-ranked Pioneers routed Wilmington College, 98-77, in an Ohio Athletic Conference men’s basketball game at Ban Johnson Arena Saturday.

Ewing tallied 17 of his points after the intermission. He also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in the contest.

“RaNeal Ewing really took over in the second half,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal, whose Pioneers improved their record to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the OAC). “He really stepped up for us, banged home some threes (four), and got to the rack.

“I thought the first play in the second half when he drove it in and tried to dunk it on Malcolm Head, that kind of made a statement. We talk a lot about Malcolm Heard, because he’s such a physical specimen. Even though he (Ewing) got fouled, that’s how we played in the second half.”

MC’s Andy Dollman, a former Parkersburg Big Red, added 16 points and Brennan McKean netted nine, while non-starters’ Eddy Grenert (12), Keith Richardson (11), and Luis Garcia (10) combined to score 33 points.

Overall, 14 Pioneer cagers saw court time, and the navy blue and white bench produced 37 points.

As a team, MC shot 48 percent (12 of 25) from three-point range.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons and a lot of bullets,” VanderWal said. “Everybody we put on the floor is dangerous. That’s what makes us really hard to guard.”

The 6-5 Heard paced Wilmington (3-3, 1-1), which defeated NCAA Division I Miami of Ohio, 65-63, in November, with 23 points. R.J. Leppert chipped in with 16 points and eight boards, while Dwight Johnson had 10 markers. The Quakers’ pine contributed 17 points.

In the opening half, Marietta took its first double-digit lead, 19-9, when the 6-4 Grenert drained a triple at the 13:04 mark. But Wilmington hung tough, rallied and led 28-24 on Klarke Ransome’s four-point play at the 7:36 mark.

Coming back, the Pioneers regained the advantage 30-28 on two Ewing feebies and then coasted into halftime with a 45-37 lead.

After the break, it was all Ewing and all the home team for most of the time as the MC advantage slowly but surely bulged to 20-plus points. At the 4:43 mark, Garcia’s three gave the Pioneers their biggest lead of the game, 90-65.

With about 10 seconds remaining, Marietta had possession of the ball and was two points shy of reaching the century mark for the second consecutive game. But the Pioneers elected to run out the clock.

“We could’ve scored 100 (points) with no problem, but that’s not the point of the game,” VanderWal said. “We’re just trying to get better. I’m really proud of our kids. In the last two games, we’ve really kind of started to come together as a unit. We’re executing better. Our defense is better, and if we continue to play that well, we’ll be awfully dangerous this year.”

Marietta is scheduled to play at Heidelberg University in Tiffin in another OAC game next Saturday.