BEREA, Ohio – Behind late-game heroics from senior two-time Academic All-Ohio Athletic Conference point guard Michael Quiring (Brunswick), the Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team battled back late to defeat Otterbein University, 61-60, in the final regular season game of the season on Seniors' Day and Al Sirat Grotto Day in the Lou Higgins Center and inside the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium.
Prior to the game, BW honored its eight graduating senior student-athletes who have contributed to four straight winning seasons. Following the game, seniorn power forward Drew Sova (Chagrin Falls/ Kenston) was honored as the Al Sirot Grotto Most Valuable Player of the Game.
BW's (14-11 overall, 10-8 OAC) offense was led by Sova who scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds to have his second straight strong performance against the Cardinals (29 points and 16 rebounds in two wins this winter).
But the key to the victory was the late play of Quiring, who scored nine points and dished out three assists. His five points in the final minute of play were the difference in the game. In addition to Sova and Quiring, sophomore guard Shane Zalba (Mentor) registered eight points and three steals, senior forward Alex Nahra (Mayfield) recorded eight points, and senior two-time Academic All-OAC forward Jack Lostoski (Uniontown/Lake) had seven points and two boards. Sova, Nahra, Lostocki and Zalba keyed a 34-27 bench advantage for the Jackets.
Otterbein (8-17 overall, 5-13 OAC) was led by junior guard Justin Carter, who came off the Cardinal bench to can 11-of-15 shots for a game-high 25 points. Freshman guard Dallas Patrick recorded 13 points and snagged 10 rebounds for a double-double, and sophomore forward Reid Black threw in 12 markers.
BW improves to 60-55 in its all-time series with Otterbein. The victory also secured its ninth straight winning season to set a BW school-record. It also gave the Yellow Jackets the right to host Heidelberg University (11-14, 9-9 in the OAC) in the 2020 OAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday in Berea at 8 p.m.
The Yellow Jackets were first on the scoreboard after a jump hook at 18:40 from senior Academic All-OAC forward Jake Elbin (Findlay). The Cardinals took an 8-5 advantage with an 8-3 run. Senior two-time Academic All-OAC Troy Massa (Parma/Normady) knotted things up at 8-8 after a corner three-pointer at the 15:25 mark. BW jumped out to a 14-8 lead at the 11:50 mark with a 6-0 run. Otterbein closed the half on a 17-14 run that was capped off by a Dallas halfcourt buzzer-beater. BW led 28-25 at the intermission.
The Cardinals opened the second half with a 10-0 spurt to take a 35-28 lead. Otterbein extended its lead to 10 points, at 44-34 at 10:49 with a 9-7 run. The Yellow Jackets battled back to tie the game up at 45-45 with 8:10 left when Sova capped 11-1 spurt with a layup. The Cardinals when on a 13-9 run to establish a 58-54 with 2:15 left. After two free throws from Nahra and then an Otterbein layup, the Cardinals called a timeout with 1:14 left and holding a 60-56 lead.
That left the final outcome to "Quiring Time"! First, Quiring nailed a trey to make it a one point game at 60-59 with just under a minute left to play. Otterbein then missed on a three-pointer in its next possession. Then, Quiring knifed his way through the lane and the Cardinal defense to make a layup with five second left and give BW 61-60 lead. The Cardinals had one more chance to win it, but failed to score on their final possession.
BW will host Heidelberg in the OAC Quarterfinals on Tuesday, February 26. Tip is set for 8 p.m. With a win, BW would advance to the OAC Semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 28 and play the winner of the No.1-seeded Mount Union (22-3, 17-1 OAC) versus Otterbein game at the site of the highest remaining seed. The 2020 OAC Championship Game is on Saturday, March 1 at the site of the highest remaining seeded team. 2020 OAC TOURNAMENT BRACKET