TIFFIN, Ohio – Despite taking a seven-point lead into halftime of Saturday afternoon's conference matchup against the Heidelberg University Student Princes, the Capital University men's basketball team fell on the road, 73-70.
Capital (8-7, 4-4 OAC) made an impressive late push, erasing a five-point deficit with 2:16 still on the clock. Senior guard A.J. Dixon (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Bradley) dropped back-to-back 3-point makes to tie the game, 68-68, with 1:14 to go. Heidelberg's Kiere Bennie responded with a three ball of his own, leaving 25 seconds for the Crusaders to play with.
Senior Mark Minch (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Crusaders down the floor and laid in a two-point basket, and Capital promptly called a timeout with 18 seconds to go. Down one, 71-70, Heidelberg broke the Crusaders' press and wasted no time to sprint down the court and hit a layup with nine seconds on the clock. Capital used its last possession to set up junior Tyrel Jackson (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) for the last shot. He beat his defender and launched a shot from the top of the key, but missed off of the front iron.
Capital began the game in control of the action, developing an 11-point lead with five minutes to go in the first half. The Crusaders built an 11-0 run to create the separation and every bucket during that run was scored by a different Capital player. Heidelberg trimmed the lead to seven going into the break, but between the final minute of the half and the first four minutes of the second, the Student Princes went on an 11-0 run of its own to retake the lead.
Outside of a 3-pointer by Minch, Heidelberg continued to score at will. All in all, Heidelberg exploded on a 20-3 run to build their largest lead of the game, 46-39. Capital diligently kept pushing its offense forward and with treys by Dixon and Minch, set up the comeback and dramatic finish.
Capital held advantages in key categories, outrebounding the Student Princes 41-37 and holding a higher shooting percentage by nearly two percent. Heidelberg made up for it by cashing in for 25 points on 16 Capital turnovers.
Minch finished as the game's high scorer with 21 points, while also tossing in six rebounds and four assists. Dixon posted his third straight 10-plus point game, and fifth in six games. He finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Kiere Bennie led the Student Princes (9-6, 4-4 OAC) with 20 points and a share of the team lead in rebounds (6). He was one of three double-digit scorers for Heidelberg. Joining him was Chris Moxley (16) and reserve James Hanley (13).
Capital is back in action this Wednesday when they host Muskingum University at The Capital Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.