Men’s Basketball Drops First Contest of Season to Heidelberg

Men’s Basketball Drops First Contest of Season to Heidelberg

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) - The Carnegie Mellon University men's basketball team hosted Heidelberg University on Saturday, January 3 and dropped its first contest of the season 70-68.  The setback now puts the Tartans' record at 9-1 while Heidelberg moves to 5-6.

One minute into the contest, senior Seth Cordts (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) put the Tartans on top 5-0 with a three-pointer and a put-back bucket.  The lead was one the home team held the rest of the half.  Later in the frame, Carnegie Mellon pushed its lead to 26-17 before Heidelberg used a 13-5 run to climb back into the game.

Carnegie Mellon answered with nine straight points to claim its largest lead of the first half at 40-30, but in the closing seconds Ben Jones drained a trey from the top of the arc to make the score 40-33 heading into the break.  In the first half the Tartans shot 59.3% from the floor including a 7-of-8 performance by sophomore Jack Serbin (New Albany, Ohio), who led all scorers with 17 first half points.  

The Berg came out of the locker room and used an 11-2 run to start the second half to take their first lead of the game, 44-42.  On the Tartans next possession down the court, sophomore Matt Hillman (Gaithersburg, Md./Sidwell Friends) put the Tartans back in front after receiving an inbound pass from junior Jason Sebak (New Kensington, Pa./Kiski Prep) and then drained a three-pointer from the corner.

The Tartans lead didn't last long, as Marcquice Taylor connected on a pair of fouls shots 30 seconds later which sparked a 15-4 run for the visitor's.  The run gave them a 59-49 lead with 10:20 to play.

Late in the second half, Serbin scored five points in eight seconds for the Tartans to cut the deficit to 64-61 with 1:25 to play.  The sophomore connected on a long ball, then had a put-back layup following an inbound steal by Cordts.  

Carnegie Mellon later pulled within two (65-63) with 41 ticks on the clock on a pair of foul shots by Hillman, before freshman Ryan Maha (West Mifflin, Pa.) hit a three-pointer to pull the Tartans within a point (69-68) with 1.8 seconds left.  Maha's trey was a little too late as Heidelberg's Kiere Bennie hit a free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining, not allowing the Tartans another chance.

The Cardinal and Gray finished the game shooting 48.1% from the floor to Heidelberg's 35.5%.  The Berg turned 23 Tartan mishaps into 22 points while the Tartans scored just seven points off eight Heidelberg turnovers.

Serbin finished with game-highs of 28 points and 20 rebounds.   Senior Kevin Stursberg (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./Jacksonville Episcopal) was the only other Tartan to reach double figures as he finished with 10 points.
Heidelberg had four players score in double figures with James Hanley leading the way with 14.  Bennie added 13, Jones had 12 and Taylor finished with 11.

The Tartans return to the court on Wednesday, January 7 as they conclude their non-conference schedule with a trip north to Penn State Behrend.  Tip in Erie, Pa. is set for 7:00 p.m.