TIFFIN, Ohio—Needing a win to stay in contention for a berth in the 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, sophomore guard Lee Renner (Gibsonburg) scored a career-high 16 points and junior honorable mention All-Ohio Athletic Conference forward Nate Davis (Dayton/Stivers) recorded his sixth double-double of the season to lead the Heidelberg University men’s basketball team to a 73-62 victory over Otterbein University tonight in a league contest at Seiberling Gymnasium in Tiffin, Ohio. The win snapped a six-game losing streak.
The Berg still needs a win Saturday against the University of Mount Union and to earn the OAC’s eighth and final seed into the tournament.
Renner guided Heidelberg (7-17, 5-12 OAC) on four-of-seven shooting, including three-of-three from beyond the arc and Davis tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds and had three dunks, one a one-handed tip-in slam. The Student Princes also received 13 points and four assists from junior second-team All-OAC guard Dane Givner (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and 11 tallies from sophomore forward Victor Fortkamp (St. Henry).
Otterbein (8-16, 5-12 OAC) was led by Chris Davis’ 20 points and 11 rebounds and Max Van Meter’s 13 points.
The teams traded leads nine times to open the game. After an 11-11 tie at the 11:00 mark, the Cardinals went on a 7-1 run and took an 18-12 lead when Van Meter sank a pair of free throws with 8:05 to play.
Renner scored four straight points and closed the gap to 20-16 after he hit a three-pointer at 7:09.
Davis put Otterbein ahead, 22-16, with a lay-up two possessions later, but another triple by Renner and a jumper by Fortkamp on consecutive possessions the Student Princes to within 22-21 with 5:21 remaining in the opening half.
Davis canned a pair of free throws and Van Meter made another lay-up to go back up, 26-21, at 4:01.
The Berg then went on a 6-2 jaunt, cutting the score to 28-27 at 2:12 when Fortkamp buried a trey. A free throw from sophomore guard Mike Petrie (Columbus/Beechcroft) with less than a minute to play knotted the score, 28-28, and a jumper by junior guard Quintin Aden (Canal Winchester/Harvest Prep) with four seconds left sent the Berg into the break clinging to a 30-28 advantage.
Givner and Fortkamp each made a lay-up on the Berg’s first two possessions of the second half as the Student Princes took a 34-28 lead less than a minute in.
Otterbein scored four straight points of its own, pulling to within 34-32 at 17:52.
Givner then scored six straight points to spark a 9-2 ‘Berg run and Fortkamp made a lay-up at the 16:13 mark to give the Student Princes a 43-32 lead.
The Cardinals cut the ‘Berg lead to as few as six points on fix separate occasions before moving to within 53-49 at the 10:05 mark following Van Meter’s dunk.
Heidelberg used a 16-0 run that spanned nearly six minutes and took a commanding 69-49 lead at the 4:30 mark with one of three Davis dunks.
Otterbein outscored the Berg, 13-4, down the stretch, but the deficit proved to be insurmountable.
The Student Princes shot 50.0 (27-of-54) percent from the field—their highest mark since facing Otterbein on Jan. 11—and held a 40-30 edge on the boards.
Otterbein shot 42.9 (24-of-56) percent overall, but was held to one-of-11 from three-point range, and converted just 59.1 (13-of-22) percent of its free throws.
The Berg needs a win Saturday against Mount Union to force at least a two-way tie for eighth place in the league standings. A Heidelberg win coupled with losses by Muskingum University at Capital University and Otterbein against Wilmington College will let the Student Princes into the tournament.
Otterbein 40th-year head coach Dick Reynolds, also Otterbein’s director of athletics, was honored prior to coaching his final game at Heidelberg. Reynolds will retire following the conclusion of the season.
Heidelberg will closes the regular season Saturday, Feb. 18 needing a win as it hosts Mount Union at 3 p.m.