Pios deck cards: McKean’s 19 sparks MC to triumph over Otterbein

A Brennan Farrell bucket with just over a minute to go put Marietta College over the 100-point mark for the second time this season against Otterbein, as the Pioneers whooped the Cardinals 104-68 in an Ohio Athletic Conference matchup at Ban Johnson Arena Wednesday night.

Over 1,000 people braved the freezing cold temperatures to watch the Pios shoot a scalding hot 33-for-65 (51 percent) from the floor. 13 players reached the scoring column for Marietta with four eclipsing double figures.

“A good team win,” said MC head coach Jon VanderWal. “Real balanced game as far as the team is concerned. I thought our kids did a real good job executing the gameplan.”

Brennan McKean found success behind the 3-point line, hitting on 5-of-8 trey attempts and scoring a game-high 19 points. Luis Garcia scored 14, A.J. Davis tallied 13 and RaNeal Ewing added 10. Eddy Grenert contributed nine and Keith Richardson, Andy Stegman and A.J. Ireland all chipped in with eight.

“We’ve got a lot of weapons,” said VanderWal, whose team had six players combine for 12 3-pointers in the game.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot it. From our guards to our post players, anybody we put on the floor can shoot 3s. We work in practice with our post guys on shooting 3s and things like that. When we’re making them, we’re gonna be really tough to beat.”

The Pioneers were also money at the charity stripe, making 26 free throws on 30 attempts. For good measure, Marietta held a 39-31 advantage in rebounding and turned it over 14 times compared to 25 for the Cardinals.

It was an overall dominating performance by a 14-4 team against a 4-14 team.

“It was just a great team effort,” VanderWal said.

Marietta trailed not once in 40 minutes of play, as 3-pointers by Garcia and McKean put the Pioneers up 26-15 with 10:07 remaining in the first half.

A little over a minute later, Garcia produced a 4-point play shortly followed by a triple from Garrett Stephenson to make the score 33-17.

Later, Marshall Crum scored six straight points for Otterbein to cut it to 37-26. Ireland would hit a 3-ball to stretch it back to a 14-point game, but Chase Moyer quickly answered with a triple of his own.

The lead remained at 11 with three minutes left in the half, but McKean dialed up from long range followed by a pair of free throws each from Richardson and Grenert to make it 51-34. Ewing converted a layup-and-one just before halftime to cap a 10-1 run and make it a 20-point game, 54-34.

MC picked up right where it left off to start the second half, as McKean knocked down a 3-point shot before four straight points by Richardson made it 61-38.

“I liked how we stayed focused the second half,” VanderWal said. “Sometimes when you get a 20-point lead at halftime, you have the tendency to relax. I thought our guys did a really good job of not relaxing in the second half and coming out and kind of just burying (Otterbein.)”

Up 67-45, Ewing put together another 3-point play before Davis drained one from downtown to stretch it to a 28-point lead, 73-45, but it was over with long before then.

Otterbein was led by Matt Rhodes’ 14 markers. The Pioneers held Otterbein’s top two scorers, Jake Bischoff and Jake Phillis, to 12 total points.

Up next, Ohio Northern comes to town Saturday as Marietta will try to avenge an early season loss to the Polar Bears. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do these next couple days,” VanderWal said. “Those guys always give us problems.”

NOTE: Marietta improved to 9-2 in the OAC and remains in second place in the conference as Mount Union (9-1) won 91-78 at John Carroll Wednesday.

Dixon achieves milestone

WESTERVILLE – Senior Tori Dixon scored nine of Marietta College’s 15 overtime points leading the Pioneers to a 76-71 win over Otterbein University Wednesday night. Marietta improved to 9-9 overall and 3-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Dixon’s second three-pointer in the extra period gave her 1,000 points in her career. She is the ninth Pioneer in program history to reach the milestone. Dixon finished with four three-pointers and a team-high 17 points giving her 1,003 career points. Otterbein (7-11 overall, 3-8 OAC) jumped out to an early lead and stayed in front throughout the first half. The Cardinals led by 10 points, 32-22, at halftime.

Three other Pioneers were in double figures. Candice Alexander scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Heather Booth had 14 points and seven boards. Jessica Brogan finished with 12 points.