Quakers top Otterbein with stirring performance

Heard's double-double lifts WC to 73-64 win

January 14, 2012

Malcolm Heard II (at left) scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in Wilmington's win over Otterbein.

Malcolm Heard II (at left) scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in Wilmington's win over Otterbein.

A tragic accident Saturday brought focus to the fact that basketball is just a game. What Wilmington’s 73-64 win over Otterbein illustrated is just how powerful a game can be.

Malcolm Heard II — whose stepbrother Matt Shuttleworth died in a traffic accident early Saturday — scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a stirring performance as the Quakers snapped a two-game losing streak with an Ohio Athletic Conference win at Fred Raizk Arena.

“Obviously, it was a very tough day for the guys. Malcolm showed such love for his teammates and love for the game today. It was really special,” Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt said. “I thought his teammates really rallied around him to support him and gave their all for Malcolm and his family. It was all about team character. Tough situations reveal what kind of character you have, and I’ve known all along that we have kids with great character. We didn’t go over the scouting report — we just told them to go out there and lay it on the line for their teammate.”

Wilmington (6-3 OAC, 7-7 overall) was not sharp early in the game as the Cardinals built a 29-18 lead at 5:04 of the opening half.

The Quakers, who have been struggling to finish halves of-late, erupted for 14 unanswered points to take a 32-29 lead at the break. The run was fueled by a pair of 3-pointers by Brandon Candella (West Chester/Lakota West) and a high-energy effort by Wilmington’s bench.

“We injected some guys into the lineup who haven’t played much, and they gave us a ton of energy,” Hunt said. “That helped us get stops at the end of each half. Closing out halves and games is all about stops and rebounds, and we were able to do that today.”

The Quakers continued to pull away in the second half and went up, 56-45, when Dwight Johnson (Dayton/Jefferson) scored with 8:22 to play.

Otterbein (2-6, 5-10) cut the deficit to 58-55 at 5:57, but Heard (Wilmington) hit a pair of free throws to ignite a 15-6 spurt that put the game away.

Heard’s 13 rebounds tied a career high. Candella, who was coming of his first career double-double, poured in career-high 21 points to go with seven rebounds, four steals and two assists.

“That is the B-C we see every day in practice. The guy is a warrior. He plays hard on every possession. It’s nice to see him make some shots. He’s worked his tail off each and every day. He has earned everything he has got,” Hunt said.

Antonio Bowman (Columbus/Whetstone) finished with nine points and four assists, while Johnson and Klarke Ransome (Richwood/North Union) added nine points apiece.

The Quakers’ win keeps them in third place in the conference standings at the midway point, a half-game behind John Carroll and Capital.

“This is a confident group. They believe in our coaching staff and they believe in each other,” Hunt said. “They think they can go win the OAC title, and that confidence comes through, even when things sometimes aren’t going the way they want them to.”

Wilmington will host Thomas More in non-conference action 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Wilmington vs. *OTTERBEIN

Saturday, January 14, 2012 Final
Saturday, January 14, 2012
3:00 PM until 4:30 PM