Quakers drop regular-season finale to Otterbein
Bowman reaches 1,000-point plateau in 68-65 loss
February 18, 2012
Antonio Bowman (at right) reached the 1,000-point plateau during Wilmington's 68-65 loss to Otterbein. (John Swartzel photo)
WESTERVILLE — Cold perimeter shooting and a tough night on the boards proved costly as Wilmington College lost to Otterbein, 68-65, in Ohio Athletic Conference action Saturday night.
The Quakers end the regular season at 10-8 in the conference, 12-12 overall. Otterbein checks out at 6-12 in the conference, 9-16 for the season.
After splitting their regular-season series, Wilmington and Otterbein won’t have to wait long to play the rubber game. The Quakers will be the No. 5 seed in the OAC Tournament and will host No. 8 Otterbein at 8 p.m. Monday. The men’s game will be preceded by a 6 p.m. women’s tournament game between Wilmington and John Carroll.
On a night when Otterbein paid tribute to retiring head coach Dick Reynolds, Wilmington was looking for a win that would give the Quakers the No. 4 seed in the tournament and a first-round bye.
“It was a tough environment with their Senior Night and Coach Reynolds’ last home game. The deck was definitely stacked against us,” Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt said. “We just didn’t respond very well. We didn’t compete hard enough. We’re going to have to correct that if we are going to make any noise in this tournament.”
Antonio Bowman (Columbus/Whetstone) reached the 1,000-point mark in his WC career by scoring 10 first-half points that helped Wilmington build a 32-28 lead at the break. When Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington) and Bowman scored early in the second half, the Quakers led, 36-28.
“We had an opportunity there and other times to really take control of the game. We just couldn’t take control because we could never get the stop or the rebound that we needed. We didn’t rebound well enough tonight to do that,” Hunt said.
For the game, Wilmington pulled down just 18 rebounds to Otterbein’s 41.
The Cardinals used a 12-2 spurt to take a 40-38 lead with 13:45 to play.
The Quakers took what proved to be their final lead of the night when Ben Vonderhaar (Cincinnati/Colerain) hit a pair of free throws at 10:46.
Otterbein took over the offensive boards and used second-chance opportunities to take a 57-52 lead at 5:21. When Zach Bakenhaster hit a free throw with 2:45 to play, the Cardinals led, 62-56.
Bowman hit a pair of foul shots and R.J. Leppert (Liberty Township/Lakota East) turned a steal into a lay-in as Wilmington cut the deficit to 62-60.
Leppert pulled down a long rebound on his missed free throw and Dwight Johnson (Dayton/Jefferson) connected to tie the game at 1:58.
After falling behind, 65-62, Bowman’s tip-in and free throw tied things for the ninth time with 49 seconds remaining.
A Chris Davis lay-in gave Otterbein a 67-65 lead.
Wilmington did not score again, thanks in-part to Otterbein’s play on the boards.
With the Cardinals leading, 68-65, with 3 seconds to play, RaNeal Ewing collected an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to deny Wilmington a shot at a game-tying 3-pointer.
Bowman finished with 19 points to raise his career total to 1,009.
“It’s a great accomplishment for A-B, and it was really special for him to do it in his hometown,” Hunt said.
Heard, who fouled out after playing just 23 minutes, added 12 points.