BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team opened its 2018-2019 home schedule inside the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium, inside the Lou Higgins Center, in exciting fashion with a one-point, 70-69 victory against the visiting Thomas More (Ky.) College Saints.
BW (3-1) was led by junior forward Tyler Colombo (Strasburg/ Tuscarawas Central Catholic), who had a game and career-high 20 points. made 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including and 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. Colombo also recorded three rebounds and two assists. Also reaching double figures were senior two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference and Academic All-OAC point guard Jay Battle (Gahanna/ Lincoln), with 14 points, and junior forward Drew Sova (Chagrin Falls/ Kenston) with 12. Battle also had a team-high six rebounds, six assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
The Yellow Jackets' first three baskets were made by Colombo, including two triples, to give BW an 8-6 lead at the 17:04 mark. After the Saints took a 12-8 lead, BW battled back with key contributions from junior forward Alex Nahra (Mayfield) and sophomore guard Luke Schaefer (Medina) to outscore TMC 10-0 and take an 18-12 advantage at 11:32 when Schaefer canned a trey. The largest lead was 11 when sophomore guard Matt Dumitirjevs (Broadview Heights/ Brecksville-Broadview Hts.) made a three-pointer. BW also led 39-35 at the half.
The Yellow Jackets established their largest lead of 13 points at the 16:38 mark in the second half off an electrifying dunk from Sova and a quick three from Battle. The Saints then went on a 14-3 run to trim the lead to two points at 55-53 with 9:21 remaining in the game. The two squads then traded buckets for the next minutes, as the Saints would threaten the BW lead multiple times, but BW remained steadfast and rebuilt an 8-point bulge at 61-53 with 7:46 let when Sova scored.
Undaunted, TMC responded to make it a two-point game again at 68-66 with 1:59 left. A Battle bucket at 1:23 extended the lead to four but a Saint triple at 1:08 made it a one-point game at 70-69. A BW turnover with 49 seconds left and the missed front end of a one-and-one foul shooting situation gave the visitors two more chances to win. But TMC misfired each time abd BW earned its home-opening, 70-69 victory.
Sharing was caring for BW as it assisted on 16 of its 22 made field goal attempts, made 16 of 19 free throws (84.2 percent) and outrebounded the Saints, 32-30. The Yellow Jacket defense created nine turnovers and received 10 points for their efforts.
BW will hit the court again on November 27, when it travels to Alliance, Ohio to start 2018-2019 Ohio Athletic Conference regular season play inside the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex at 7 p.m. BW's next home game is on Saturday, December 15 when it hosts Capital University at 3 p.m.