NCAC Weekly Release (2-17-14) - Men's Basketball

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No. 9 Wooster (14-2, 20-3) has clinched at least a share of its 16th North Coast men’s basketball title after winning a pair of games last week against Hiram (3-13, 5-18), 76-71, and No. 15 Wittenberg (11-5, 17-6), 60-55. The 2013-14 regular season concludes this week with fives games each on Wednesday and Sunday, highlighted by Wittenberg hosting Kenyon (8-8, 11-2) on Wednesday and DePauw (11-5, 16-7) traveling to No. 14 Ohio Wesleyan (12-4, 18-5) on Saturday. The 2014 NCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket will be announced on Saturday night following the conclusion of all league games.

ALLEGHENY split a pair of games last week, topping Oberlin, 73-61, on Wednesday before falling in overtime against No. 14 Ohio Wesleyan, 81-76, on Saturday. Senior Ryan Stanko (Allison Park, PA/Deer Lakes) led the Gators with 21 points against the Yeomen, while junior Josh Valentic (Washington, PA/Trinity) scored a team-high 16 points against OWU.

DENISON swept a pair of NCAC opponents last week with wins over Kenyon, 75-68, and Wabash, 92-57. The 35-point win over the Little Giants was the team’s largest margin of victory since a 37-point win over Oberlin on Jan. 19, 2000. Sophomore guard Darius White (Galloway, OH/East) scored a career-high 22 points against Wabash, including nailing six-straight three-point buckets in a six-minute span in the first half. White finished the week with 31 points after shooting 69 percent (11-of-16) from the field and 69 percent (9-of-13) from beyond the arc.

DEPAUW posted a convincing 71-49 win at No. 15 Wittenberg on Wednesday, but suffered a 76-67 home loss against Kenyon on Saturday. Junior center Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) is now tied with Jeremy Bitts (1999-03) for third on the program’s all-time blocks list with 78.

HIRAM dropped a pair of league games last week against No. 9 Wooster, 76-71, and Oberlin, 91-79. Senior forward Chris Zurowski (Medina, OH/Medina) led the Terriers on the week with 28 points (14.0 ppg), 16 rebounds (8.0 rpg) and five blocked shots (2.5 bpg).

KENYON split a pair of contests last week, falling to Denison, 75-58, on Wednesday, before defeating DePauw, 75-67, on Saturday. Senior forward Brian Lebowitz (New York, NY/Riverdale) posted a pair of double-double performances on the week with 16 points and 13 rebounds against Denison, and 10 points and 14 rebounds against DPU.

OBERLIN opened play last week with a 73-61 loss against Allegheny, but rebounded with a 91-79 victory over Hiram on Saturday. Senior Geoff Simpson (Simsbury, CT/Simsbury), who scored 22 of his game-high 33 points in the second-half against Hiram, finished the week with 57 points (28.5) after shooting 60 percent (18-of-30) from the field, 67 percent (2-of-3) from three-point range and 83 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line.

OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked No. 14 in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, sits alone in second-place in the NCAC standings after finishing last week with a 77-66 loss against Wabash and an 81-76 overtime win over Allegheny. Senior post Reuel Rogers (Columbus, OH/Bexley) tallied 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks against Wabash, and then added 20 points five rebounds and five steals in the win over the Gators.

WABASH won its final regular season home game of the season on Wednesday with a 77-66 upset victory over No 14 Ohio Wesleyan. The Little Giants also suffered a 92-57 loss at Denison on Saturday. Sophomore guard Austin Burton (Crawfordsville, IN/Southmont) scored 18 points in the win over OWU after shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from three-point range.

WITTENBERG, ranked 15th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, suffered back-to-back league losses last week against DePauw, 71-49, and No. 9 Wooster, 60-55. Senior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, OH/Bethel) posted his 10th double-double of the season against Wittenberg with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

WOOSTER, ranked ninth in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, secured at least a share of its 16th North Coast men’s basketball championship following a pair of wins last week against Hiram, 76-71, and No. 15 Wittenberg, 60-55. Senior Scott Purcell (Oxford, OH/Badin) played a critical role in each of the Fighting Scots’ wins last week. Against Hiram, he came up with the biggest sequence of the game  in the final two minutes as he secured two offensive rebounds and then knocked down a three-pointer in the same possession to put Wooster ahead for good. In the win over Wittenberg, Purcell was 3-of-3 from three-point range in the first half, and hit two clutch free throws in the final minute of the game to secure the five-point win. On the week, he scored 22 points (11.0 ppg), grabbed 11 rebounds (5.5 rpg) and dished out five assists (2.5 apg), while also shooting 86 percent (6-of-7) from beyond the arc and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.