Bowman, Quakers roll past Otterbein
WC wins, 76-65; BW up next
February 20, 2012
Malcolm Heard II scored 14 points in Wilmington's OAC Tournament win over Otterbein.
Antonio Bowman was not interested in ending his collegiate career Monday night, so the senior went out and scored 25 points and dished out five assists to lead Wilmington College to a 76-65 win over Otterbein in Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament first-round action at Fred Raizk Arena.
The No. 5 seed Quakers are now 13-12 and will play at No. 4 Baldwin-Wallace 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a quarterfinal encounter. Otterbein’s season ends at 9-17.
“I thought we played with renewed energy tonight that we haven’t had for a few games,” Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt said. “Our effort at times was superb. We let up a little bit in the second half, but if we get that kind of effort and energy, we’re going to be a tough out in this tournament.”
Otterbein — which handed Wilmington a 68-65 setback Feb. 18 to even the regular-season series at a game apiece — scored the game’s first six points to fire a serious volley over the Quakers’ bow.
Bowman (Columbus/Whetstone) scored Wilmington’s first seven points, the final from downtown that knotted the score at 7.
With shots falling on the offensive end, Wilmington’s pressure defense took its toll on the Cardinals. When Wilmington converted an R.J. Leppert (Liberty Township/Lakota East) steal into a Bowman lay-in, Wilmington led, 26-16.
Wilmington continued to avalanche Otterbein and extended its advantage to 38-20 when Ben Vonderhaar (Cincinnati/Colerain) scored in the paint at 3:06.
On the strength of 60-percent shooting (15 of 25), Wilmington led, 42-27, at halftime.
Otterbein, playing in what proved to be the final game of head coach Dick Reynolds’ legendary career, did not fold.
The Cardinals took advantage of foul trouble on Leppert and Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington) to gradually carve their way back into the game. When RaNeal Ewing twisted home a jumper with 2:34 to play, Wilmington’s lead was cut to 70-65.
“They are a senior-laden team. We knew they were not going to go away, roll over and die,” Hunt said. “I thought we were a little tentative when they got it to five, but we called a timeout and really talked to the guys about being the aggressor and the need to attack and finish this thing off,” Hunt said.
Wilmington had the finish in the form of a 6-0 game-ending spurt. Included in the closing run were a lay-in, assist and free throw from Bowman, who was honored for reaching the 1,000-point career scoring plateau in a pre-game ceremony (shown at left with head coach K.C. Hunt).
“A-B was the ultimate senior tonight. It was probably the best overall point guard he has played in his career. He made the right decisions. He knew when to shoot and when to dish. He had five assists, but he should have had five more on guys that missed wide-open looks. He was tremendous tonight,” Hunt said.
Heard scored 14 points and collected five rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. Brandon Candella (West Chester/Lakota West) added 10 points.
The Quakers will make the journey to Berea Tuesday in hopes of extending their season.
“We have a big challenge in front of us,” Hunt said. “There’s nothing we can’t accomplish. B-W is a really good basketball team. We won’t have much rest, but we are going to give it our best shot.”