Student Princes Sting Yellow Jackets in OAC Quarterfinals


For the third time this season, the Baldwin Wallace men’s basketball team’s battle with the Heidelberg Student Princes came down to the wire. And unlike the previous two match ups, the Yellow Jackets couldn’t close the game out when it mattered the most.

Heidelberg outdueled BW, coming from behind in the last five minutes of the game to shock the Yellow Jackets, 75-69 for their first OAC Tournament victory in nine years.

Coming into the game with two victories, and a combined winning margin of just four points, BW head coach Tom Heil knew his team had quite the task in front of them. “They are a very, very, very good defensive team,” Heil said. “They really try to take us away from the three-point line and that is a big part of our identity, is getting and making threes and we didn’t get very many good looks tonight because of the way they were guarding us.”

The last time the Yellow Jackets defeated Heidelberg inside the Ursprung Gymnasium, senior Drew Sova’s dominance in the paint came in handy. He had pulled in 11 rebounds and contributed four points. On Tuesday night, Sova’s impact went deeper.

He led the Yellow Jackets, setting a career-high, with 24 points in his final game at BW, and led the game with 16 rebounds, and tried to will the Yellow Jackets back into it in the closing minutes. “I think we have really tough kids and competitors, and I think that has always been in our DNA. I think it really comes from the seniors, Michael (Quiring) and Drew are two of the toughest guys I have coached in my career. Drew played like an animal tonight.”

Quiring was quiet in the box score, shooting just 1-11 from the floor and gathering only four points. “If you look at the stat line, it looks like he struggled but Michael Quiring is the engine that makes us go,” Heil said. “He’s our best player and he has to do everything. He has to guard every night, he has to handle the ball every night. He has to score, he has to distribute, he has to lead.”

BW used a quick start, including a 7-0 run in the first half, shooting over 53% from the field to jump out to a 38-27 lead at halftime. However, the Student Princes stormed back, using a six-point run of their own to get right back into the game.

BW chose to save their timeouts for the final minutes of the game, as Heidelberg gathered momentum and completed the comeback. “Timeouts don’t change anything,” Heil said. “You need timeouts at the end of a game against a team like this because of the pressure. Our guys were exhausted and we knew we were going to need them at the end of the game. We couldn’t stop them and that was the problem.”

The Yellow Jackets and Student Princes would exchange the lead twice and tied it up two more times over the last 7:39 of gameplay, with the last of those changes going to Heidelberg with 4:20 to go.

Over the last four minutes of gameplay, Heidelberg out scored BW 13-4, including a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 71-65 with just 1:41 left to play. While BW had some opportunities to claw back, missed free throws became vital down the stretch. The Yellow Jackets shot just 41.7% from the charity stripe, but that was just one think Heil will focus on with his team. “I don’t think we did a good job of closing plays, we missed a bunch of free throws, and we couldn’t get a stop,” Heil said.

The two teams exchanged buckets bringing the final to 75-69. In the second half, BW shot just 11-30 from the floor, while the Student Princes sank more than 61% of their shots after halftime. “That’s just basketball man,” Heil said. “Sometimes it just happens that way.”

After knocking of BW, Heidelberg now prepares to face the No. 1 seed in the OAC, Mount Union, on Thursday night.