NCAC Weekly Release (1-27-14) - Men's Basketball

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The race at the top of the North Coast men’s basketball standings took a slight turn last week as DePauw (8-2, 13-4) handed second-ranked Wooster (9-1, 15-2) its first loss against a Division III opponent this season. The Fighting Scots now hold a one-game lead in the league standings with DePauw, 19th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan (8-2, 14-3) and 18th-ranked Wittenberg (8-2, 14-3) deadlocked in the second position. Conference play continues this week with five games each on Wednesday and Saturday, highlighted by Wooster hosting Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday night.

ALLEGHENY dropped a pair of contests against nationally-ranked opponents last week, falling to No. 2 Wooster, 73-66, and No. 18 Wittenberg, 61-43. Junior forward Brandon Smith (Gahanna, OH/Lincoln) paced the Gators with 15 points against the Fighting Scots, while senior guard Ryan Stanko (Allison Park, PA/Deer Lakes) led the squad with 10 points against the Tigers.

DENISON split a pair of games last week, earning an 83-77 road win at Hiram on Wednesday, before falling to No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan, 83-65, on Saturday. Senior forward Alex Longi (Cincinnati, OH/St. Xavier) led the Big Red in scoring in both games, posting 20 against the Terriers and 18 against OWU. Longi needs just 43 more points this season to become the 35th member of DU’s 1,000-point club.

DEPAUW topped arch-rival Wabash, 70-60, on Wednesday, before capping off the week with a 78-74 win over second-ranked Wooster. The Tigers are now 3-3 against nationally-ranked teams this season, while the win over Wooster was the highest ranked team DePauw has beaten since it topped No. 2 Washington (MO) in the round of 16 of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Michael Wilkison (Cincinnati, OH/Anderson) scored a season-high 26 points in the win over Wabash and also led the Tigers with a 23-point effort against Wooster. Wilkison had the hot hand for the Tigers on the week as he shot 61 percent (14-of-23) from the field, 77 percent (10-of-13) from beyond the arc and 92 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.

HIRAM suffered an 83-77 setback against Denison in its only action last week. The Terriers’ game on Saturday against Kenyon was postponed due to hazardous road conditions in the area. Senior guard Aaron Stefanov (Stow, OH/Stow-Munroe Falls) led the Terriers against DU with 27 points after shooting 50 percent (8-of-16) from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

KENYON dropped a 66-54 decision on Wednesday against No. 18 Wittenberg, before having its game on Saturday at Hiram postponed due to hazardous road conditions. Sophomore guard Tim Connolly (San Francisco, CA/Stuart Hall) had a career day in the loss against Wittenberg, finishing the game with 18 points, three steals, two rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes of action off the bench.

OBERLIN lost back-to-back road games against Ohio Wesleyan, 81-72, and Wabash, 57-52. Senior Geoff Simpson (Simsbury, CT/Simsbury) scored 18 points in each game and combined for 15 rebounds to lead the Yeomen.

OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 19th in the most recent Top 25 poll, ran its win streak to five following a pair of NCAC wins over Oberlin, 81-72, and Denison, 83-75. Senior wing Dre White (Lima, OH/Bath) led the Bishops with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists against Oberlin, and then scored 15 of his 20 points against Denison in the second half to lead OWU to the comeback win.

WABASH was upended by arch-rival DePauw, 70-60, on Wednesday, but rallied with a 57-52 home win against Oberlin on Saturday. Freshman guard Kyle Aiton (Newburgh, IN/Castle) scored 39 points (19.5 ppg) over the two-game stretch, including a 20-point against the Yeomen.

WITTENBERG, ranked 18th in the most recent Top 25 poll, got back in the win column last week with a pair of league wins over Kenyon, 66-54, and Allegheny, 61-43. Junior Sam Collins (Cleveland Hts., OH/Cleveland Hts.) led the Tigers with 15 points and eight rebounds against the Lords, while senior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, OH/Bethel) led the squad with a 13-point, six-rebound performance against Allegheny.

WOOSTER, ranked second in the most recent Top 25 poll, opened play last week with a 73-68 win over Allegheny, before dropping its first conference game of the season on Saturday against DePauw by a 78-74 margin. The setback was also the Fighting Scots’ first loss on the season against a Division III opponent as their only other setback came against NAIA member Arizona Christian on December 17th. Senior guard Doug Thorpe (Columbus, OH/Eastmoor Acad.) scored 21 of his career-high 26 points in the second half to lift Wooster past Allegheny on Wednesday. He also added a team-high 22-point effort in the four-point loss at DePauw on Saturday.