When the Marietta College men's basketball team plays Denison University at Ban Johnson Arena at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, it'll be the Pioneers' last home game this month.
After the Big Red (3-3), the Pioneers (3-2 overall and 1-0 Ohio Athletic Conference) will be on the road for their next five contests, and won't be back to the friendly confines of BJA until Jan. 2, 2013 when they host Ohio Northern University in an OAC tilt.
So far, MC's record almost looks like a heart monitor - up, down, up, down, up. Before drilling visiting Otterbein University (2-3, 0-1) 90-62 on Saturday, the Pioneers dropped a 73-63 decision at Wittenberg on Nov. 28.
"We just didn't play real well against Witt, and didn't shoot nearly as good obviously," said sixth-year Marietta College head coach Jon VanderWal. "But we're making progress. That's for sure."
No question about that, especially after torching Otterbein for 18 three-pointers. Overall, MC shot 52.5 percent from the floor (32 of 61).
"They (Otterbein) played man, and they're a tough team," said MC sophomore guard Brennan McKean, who scored a game-high 15 points on five three-balls. "They're a good team, and we just played pretty well."
If the lights at Ban Johnson Arena were flickering, it's because Marietta nearly shot them out, making 18 of 31 three atempts. Eight Pioneer cagers had at least one trey.
"It's really important that we take great, quality shots, and try to establish a little bit more of a low post game, which I thought we did in the second half with (Matt) Napier especially," VanderWal said. "I just wanted them to play smart and play really hard, which they did."
Sparked by non-starters' Garrett Stephenson (14 points), Napier (8) and McKean, the MC bench produced 54 points. Sixteen Pioneers saw court time against Otterbein.
"As long as it's a win, it doesn't matter (if I start)," McKean said. "It doesn't matter how it happens as long as we're winning.
"Coach (VanderWal) likes to play a lot of guys, so if you're not starting, you're going to play anyway."
Against Denison, which is coming off a 75-72 setback at Wabash Saturday, Marietta is expected to start Tyler Worstell, Scott Kimmey, Tyler Hammond, J.J. Martin, and Jason Humphrey.
Meanwhile, over on the women's side, Stacia Shrider's Lady Pioneers are off to a 4-2 start (1-1 OAC). MC is coming off a 75-48 setback at Ohio Northern University (5-1, 1-0) Saturday.
Marietta is hoping for a bounce-back win at Otterbein (4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. For the Lady Cardinals, it'll be their OAC opener.
MC's probable starters may be Shelby Maloney, Krissy Rowe, Jessica Brogan, Candice Alexander, and Heather Booth.
After Otterbein, Marietta is scheduled to host Wilmington in an OAC game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Then, the Lady Pioneers also hit the road for four consecutive games. They'll be back home against Baldwin-Wallace on Jan. 5.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org