NCAC Weekly Release (1-20-14) - Men's Basketball

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Second-ranked Wooster (8-0, 14-1) has built a two-game lead in the North Coast men’s basketball standings following two wins last week, including a 69-62 triumph over arch-rival Wittenberg (6-2, 12-3) on Saturday. As we head into the second-half of the season, DePauw (6-2, 11-4), Ohio Wesleyan (6-2, 12-3) and Wittenberg continue to fight for spots 2-4 in the league standings, while Kenyon (4-4, 7-8) sits in fifth-place with a .500 record.

ALLEGHENY lost a pair of league games last week against Oberlin, 67-58, and Denison, 55-46. Senior guard Ryan Stanko (Allison Park, PA/Deer Lakes) led the Gators with 19 points against Oberlin, while junior forward Brandon Smith (Gahanna, OH/Lincoln) scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Denison.

DENISON went 1-1 last week, falling to Kenyon, 73-61, on Wednesday, before knocking off Allegheny, 55-46, on Saturday. On the week, senior Alex Longi (Cincinnati, OH/St. Xavier) averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds after shooting 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field and 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from three-point range.

DEPAUW split a pair of games against ranked opponents last week, defeating No. 9 Wittenberg, 72-46, on Wednesday, before falling to No. 22 Ohio Wesleyan, 75-64, on Saturday. The loss against the Bishops snapped the Tigers’ six-game win streak. Junior center Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) posted his sixth double-double of the season and sixth in his last seven games against Ohio Wesleyan after scoring 16 points and pulling down a career-high 18 rebounds.

HIRAM opened play last week with a 94-71 loss against No. 2 Wooster, but rebounded with a narrow 73-71 triumph over Oberlin on Saturday. In the win over the Yeomen, senior guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow, OH/Stow-Munroe Falls) scored 25 of his game-high 28 points in the second half to help the Terriers snap their five-game NCAC losing streak.

KENYON split a pair of road games last week, earning a 73-61 win over Denison on Wednesday and suffering a 61-52 loss against Wabash on Saturday. Senior forward Ikenna Nwadibia (San Francisco, CA/Stuart Hall) tallied 23 points and seven rebounds in the victory over DU and then posted team-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds against Wabash.

OBERLIN used a late second-half surge to defeat Allegheny, 67-58, on Wednesday, but then suffered a heartbreaking 73-71 loss against Hiram on Saturday after a potential game-winning three-pointer by senior Emmanuel Lewis (Lambertville, NJ/Solebury) was waived off. Senior Geoff Simpson (Simsbury, CT/Simsbury) paced the Yeomen on the week by netting 17 points against Allegheny and 18 more against the Terriers.

OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 22nd in the most recent Top 25 poll, went 2-0 against Indiana foes last week as the Battling Bishops knocked off Wabash, 80-62, on Wednesday and DePauw, 75-64, on Saturday. Freshman guard Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy) scored 15 points and led the team with three assists against Wabash, before leading the Bishops with 18 points and eight rebounds against DePauw. Clark went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line during the final minute against DePauw to help seal the victory.

WABASH suffered an 80-62 loss against Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday, but bounced back with a 61-52 home win over Kenyon on Saturday. Freshman guard Kyle Aiton (Newburgh, IN/Castle) tallied 13 points in the loss against OWU and then posted a career-high 24-point effort against Kenyon on Saturday.

WITTENBERG, ranked ninth in the most recent Top 25 poll, saw its 11-game win streak come to an end last week with losses against DePauw, 72-46, and second-ranked Wooster, 69-62. In the two games combined, senior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, OH/Bethel) led the Tigers with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

WOOSTER, ranked second in the most recent Top 25 poll, remained unbeaten in NCAC play last week following wins over Hiram, 94-71, and Wooster, 69-62. Junior guard Xavier Brown (Bowling Green, OH/Bowling Green) became the 38th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark after finishing the week with 29 points. He reached the career milestone early in the second half against Hiram as part of 17-point performance. In the win over Wittenberg, Brown scored 12 points, passed out three assists and tallied four steals.