MARIETTA – The Marietta College men’s basketball team bounced back from its first conference loss of the season to beat a scrappy Baldwin Wallace University squad, 85-76, Saturday afternoon in Ban Johnson Arena. The Pioneers improve to 15-2 overall and 9-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. Baldwin Wallace slips to 10-7 on the season and 6-4 in conference play.

“It was a good win today and I’m proud of the guys for gutting it out,” Marietta head coach Jon VanderWal said. “I challenged the guys at halftime and to their credit, they responded. We had some guys step up and make some big plays and we were able to squeak it out.”

Baldwin Wallace opened the game quick as they outscored Marietta 7-2 in the first two minutes of the game. An old fashioned three-point play from Jason Ellis cut the lead to two, 7-5.

After each team scored a bucket, the Yellow Jackets went on an 8-0 run building a 17-7 lead at the 13:27 minute mark of the opening half. Marietta halted the run with a layup from St. John’s graduate Tim Kreeger. Baldwin Wallace continued to play well and led 22-11 midway through the first period.

The Pioneers answered with an 14-2 run to grab their first lead of the night, 25-24 with just under six minutes to play in the half. The run was sparked by a Mike Hall jumper and highlighted by seven points from Ellis.

The teams traded baskets for the next three minutes and a layup from Jake Montgomery tied the game at 31 points apiece forcing a Yellow Jackets timeout with three minutes to play in the half.

After the timeout each team scored a basket before Baldwin Wallace hit three straight triples to go in front 42-33 with 41 seconds remaining in the half. Anthony Mazzeo drained two from behind the arc and Michael Quiring nailed the third. Marietta got a last second layup from Christian James and trailed 42-35 at the intermission.

The Pioneers came out the locker room ready to play and scored six straight points with layups from Kreeger and Montgomery to trim the deficit to one, 42-41. The teams continued to battle and Marietta took its first lead of the second half, 51-50, at the 14:35 mark, on a layup and free throw from Lukas Isaly forcing a BW timeout.

Out of the timeout, the Yellow Jackets regained a 57-55 lead with just under 10 minutes to play in the game. After Baldwin Wallace notched a 62-58 edge the Pioneers answered with a pair of free throws from Kreeger and threes from Isaly, and Mason Lydic put Marietta on top, 66-62.

Following a Baldwin Wallace timeout, five quick points from Isaly gave the Pioneers a 71-62 advantage. Marietta held a 73-64 edge late behind a pair of Caleb Hoyng foul shots.

Baldwin Wallace cut the Pioneer lead to 75-72 with under a minute to play. Marietta answered with a three from Isaly, and on the defensive end Kreeger picked up a big block to secure the Pioneers win. Marietta won 85-76.

The Pioneers were led by Kreeger as he had a game high 20 points, had three rebounds, and a pair of blocks. Ellis added 16 points, and tied a career high in rebounds with eight. Isaly added 14 points, on 3-4 shooting from behind the arc.

Quiring led the Yellow Jackets with 18 points. Mazzeo finished with 17 points, while Alex Nahra added 12 points. Drew Sova grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

Marietta will return to the court today when they travel to take on Otterbein University.