Still hungry after feasting on visiting Baldwin-Wallace for a game-high 22 points, Marietta College junior Kevin Knab went to the local Applebee's Saturday. Being the dinnertime hour, the restaurant was hopping. In the background on wide screen TVs, several college games - football and basketball - were being played.
But the only game that mattered to the 6-foot-6 Knab was the one he and his MC teammates had just played an hour or so before. The undefeated Pioneers - who downed the visiting Yellow Jackets, 83-61 - are off to a terrific start on the season with a 6-0 overall record (2-0 Ohio Athletic Conference).
"It's good to be 6-0," said Knab after Saturday's game at Ban Johnson Arena. "We know we can play better, though. Everybody's going to tell us we're doing good, but this team knows that with hard work, we can keep getting better."
"We wanted to make a statement today," he continued, "and we showed them (Baldwin-Wallace) how deep we were. We kind of wore them down in the second half, and we were able to put them away."
Marietta never trailed in the contest but only led 35-33 at halftime, thanks in part to Knab's 16 points on six of seven from the field and four of four from the line.
"We had to come out and set the tone," Knab said. "I've been that guy for us this year. Trevor (Halter) has been doing a great job, and so has Joe (Puch). Everyone's been coming out with a lot of fire at the beginning of the game."
Marietta College head coach Jon VanderWal agreed and added, "The game plan was to go inside, because we have a significant size advantage down low. I think we've got the best post player (Knab) in the league, so we've got to go to him as much as we can."
Duane Sheldon said Knab "is a great player."
"He's one of the better players in the league," the Baldwin-Wallace head coach said. "They've actually got two of the better players (Knab and Halter) in the league. It just wasn't those two either. They had a lot of contribution from a lot of guys."
"We're trying to wear people out," the fourth-year Pioneer boss said. "We play about 10 guys usually, but we're probably even deeper than those 10. We've got 10 to 15 guys that we feel real good about."
After the break, it was all Pioneers as they outpointed the Yellow Jackets, 48-28, and won going away. Halter added 18 points (12 in the second half), and freshman point Tyler Hammond and Jason Humphrey netted nine and eight markers, respectively.
Everyone played Saturday and capping all the MC scoring, southpaw non-starter Scott Kimmey, who saw just two minutes of court time, drained two consecutive threes.
Inside or outside. It doesn't matter to the Pioneers. They can hurt you either way.
"Right now, we're tough to guard, because we're pretty fast and can score on you in transition," VanderWal said. "Then, if you try to slow it down. we'll just throw it in the post and jam it down you."
Marietta College is scheduled to host Otterbein in another OAC game at 4 p.m. Saturday.
"We'll take 6-0, but we want 7-0," VanderWal said. "We've got to handle the success and keep working hard, so we can have a special season."
And, who knows? After Saturday's game against the Cardinals, maybe Knab will be dining at a local restaurant again.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org