DePauw Wins First NCAC Tournament Championship

DePauw Wins First NCAC Tournament Championship

Championship Game Recap:

For the first time in program history, DePauw (19-9) has won the NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament after the fourth-seeded Tigers knocked off the second seed Wooster (22-6) by a 69-56 margin on Saturday night (2/28) at Branch Rickey Arena on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. DePauw senior guard Frank Patton III (Evansville, IN/Harrison) earned the Al Van Wie award as the tournament's most valuable player after leading all scorers in the championship game with 20 points. In the three tournament games combines, Patton III scored 40 points (13.3 ppg) and dished out 12 assists (4.0 apg), while shooting 41 percent (9-of-22) from the field and 83 percent (20-of-24) from the free throw line. 

As tournament champions, the Tigers have earned the NCAC's automatic big into the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. The national tournament's selections will be made on Monday, March 2nd, with first-round play scheduled to begin on March 6th.

2015 All-Tournament Team
Marcus Kammrath, Wabash
Ben Simpson, Ohio Wesleyan
Evan Pannell, Wooster
Dan Fanelly, Wooster
Luke Lattner, DePauw

Al Van Wie Award (MVP)
Frank Patton III, DePauw

Quarterfinals:

  Semifinals:   Championship:

Tuesday, Feb. 24

  Friday, Feb. 27
(at Ohio Wesleyan)
  Saturday, February 28
(at Ohio Wesleyan)
#1 Ohio Wesleyan 83, #8 Oberlin 66 {Box}   Wooster 68, Wabash 55 {Box} {Photo Gallery}
  DePauw 69,  Wooster 56 {Box}
#2 Wooster 106, #7 Denison 68 {Box}   DePauw 69, Ohio Wesleyan 65 {Box}
{Photo Gallery}
 
#3 Wabash 69, #6 Allegheny 60 {Box}   Listen To Coaches' Interviews    
#4 DePauw 79, #5 Wittenberg 75 - 2 OT {Box}        

Bracket -- Stats -- Tickets  -- Directions  --  History

Semifinal Recaps:

In the second semifinal game on Friday night at Branch Rickey Arena, fourth-seeded DePauw (18-9) used a late second-half rally to upset top-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (22-5) by a 69-65 margin. With the win, the Tigers have advanced to their first NCAC Tournament Championship game in program history and will square off against second-seeded Wooster at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night in Delaware, Ohio. The win also marked the 500th in the career of DPU head coach Bill Fenlon as his overall record now stands at 500-281. The Battling Bishops led for nearly the entire first half and took a 43-35 lead into the locker room at halftime. OWU maintained its lead for the early portion of the second half and led by as much as nine, 59-50, with 7:19 left in the game, but the Tigers quickly erased that lead with a 9-0 run, capped off by a layup from senior center Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) to even the score at 59 apiece. OWU briefly regained the lead at 63-62 with 1:42 showing on the clock on a pair of free throws from sophomore wing Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest), but another jumper from Fernitz put the Tigers ahead for good, 64-63, with 46 seconds left in the game. The Tigers ultimately sealed the victory by nailing 5-of-6 free throw attempts in the final 20 seconds of the four-point victory. Fernitz led the Tigers in the victory with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while junior post Matt Jeske (Glen Ellyn, IL/Glenbard South) paced the Bishops with 16 points.

Second-seeded Wooster (22-5) secured its spot in the championship game of the NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament for the 22nd time in program history following a 68-55 victory over third-seeded Wabash (18-9) on Friday night at Branch Rickey Arena. The Little Giants held a slight 25-23 advantage at halftime and the two squads continued the back-and-fourth affair for much of the second stanza, before Wooster took the lead for good at 42-40 with 9:16 left in the contest on a three ball from sophomore Milt Davis (Cincinnati, OH/Colerain). The Little Giants did close within four, 57-53, with 3:12 showing on the clock on a three pointer from sophomore guard Kyle Aiton (Remington, IN/Tri-County), but the Scots closed out the game on an 11-2 run to secure the 13-point victory. Wooster senior Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) led the Scots with 21 points, while sophomore forward Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, OH/Green) finished with 15 points and a season-high 16 rebounds. Junior center Marcus Kammrath (Union Mills, IN/South Central) led the Little Giants in scoring with 18 points, while junior forward Daniel Purvlicis (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville) paced Wabash on the glass with nine rebounds.  

Quarterfinal Recaps:

The top four seeds advanced out of the NCAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Feb. 24. As a result, top-seeded Ohio Wesleyan will host the "final four" Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28. The Battling Bishops will face #4 DePauw at 8:30 p.m. on Friday at Branch Rickey Arena. The first semifinal will match #2 Wooster against #3 Wabash at 5:30 p.m., also on Friday. The semifinal winners will play in the tournament championship game at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The Battling Bishops (22-4) opened the NCAC Tournament with an 83-66 victory over Oberlin (10-16).  OWU junior Claude Gray (Avon, OH/Avon) and junior Matt Jeske (Glen Ellyn, IL/Glenbard South) led the Bishops to their quarterfinal victory. Gray scored 23 points and added six boards versus the Yeomen, while Jeske netted 16 points. Sophomore Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) posted his fourth consecutive double-double, collecting 10 points and 13 rebounds. Oberlin Junior Randy Ollie (Evanston, IL/Evanston) led the Yeomen offensively with a 20-point performance, two points off of a scoring career-high while collecting eight rebounds and two blocks. The Yeomen finish the 2014-15 campaign with a 10-16 record, their most victories since the 1991-92 season. 

Second-seeded Wooster (21-5) advances into the semifinals after a 1-60-68 victory over #7 Denison (13-13). Senior Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) hit nine of 16 shots from the floor, and four of six free throws to lead all scorers with 23 points. Sophomore Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, OH/Green) snagged a game-high 13 rebounds and completed the double-double with 17 points in the win. Seniors Briggs King (Evanston, IL/Loyola Academy) and Robby Weingart (Phoenix, MD/McDonogh School) paced Denison with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Denison's season comes to a close with a record of 13-13.

Wabash, the tourney third seed, topped #6 Allegheny, 69-60 in their quarterfinal matchup. The Little Giants had four players notch double figures in scoring, led by sophomore Kyle Aiton (Newburgh, INCastle)'s 23. Junior Marcus Kammrath (Union Mills, IN/South Central) followed with 13, while classmate Daniel Purvlicis (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville) added 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the double-double. Allegheny sophomore Evan Zabriski (Jupiter, FL/Jupiter) scored a team-high 20 points and added a team-leading 10 rebounds, while senior Josh Valentic (Washington, PA/Trinity) and sophomore Conor Macomber (Beverly, MA/Assumption College) each tossed in 11 points. Making their first appearance in the NCAC playoffs since the 2010-11 campaign, the Gators' 11 wins marked the most for the squad since 2009-10.  

In the game with the earliest start time in the quarters, DePauw (17-9) and Wittenberg (10-16) battled through two extra sessions before the Indiana Tigers came away with a 79-75 victory. The  The game was tight throughout, with neither team holding a lead larger than seven points. There were a total of 11 ties and 10 lead changes, including a wild final 10 minutes constituting the two overtime periods. DePauw sophomore Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick) led all scorers with 26 points. He was 8-of-12 from the floor and a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe, including a 4-for-4 performace in the second extra stanza. Senior Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) had a team-high 12 rebounds, and also added 18 points, with most coming off a 10-of-14 night at the free throw line. Wittenberg sophomore Cody Phillippi (Xenia, OH/Xenia) ledwith 16 points and sophomore Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) added 12 points. Wittenberg closed out its season with a 10-16 overall record.

 

TOURNAMENT PREVIEW
Ohio Wesleyan (16-2, 21-4), ranked 17th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, secured its first outright North Coast men's basketball championship since the 1986-87 season last week following a pair of wins over Oberlin, 106-76, and DePauw, 86-77. The Battling Bishops now own five NCAC titles all-times, followed by Wooster (16), Wittenberg (11) and Allegheny (4). The Battling Bishops, who won another outright championship in 1985, shared the title with Allegheny in both 1988 and 1986, while the Gators also shared the crown with Wooster in 1989 and Wittenberg in 1993.

As conference champions, Ohio Wesleyan has earned the top seed in the 2015 NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament. Tournament play begins with quarterfinal games at campus sites on Tuesday (2/24) evening. The seeding follows the regular season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The Battling Bishops host the eight seed Oberlin (6-12, 10-15) at 7:00 p.m. Wooster (14-4, 20-5), ranked 24th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25, finished as the second seed and will host seventh-seeded Denison (7-11, 13-12) at 7:30 p.m.; third-seeded Wabash (12-6, 17-8) hosts sixth-seeded Allegheny (8-10, 11-14) at 7:30 p.m., while fourth-seeded DePauw (9-9, 16-9) hosts fifth-seeded Wittenberg (8-10, 10-15) at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday's winners will advance to the semifinals on Friday at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinal round. In low capacity gyms (OWU, WAB), the semifinal games will be played at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., with the host playing in the later time slot. Please note, in this scenario the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for both contests. In high capacity gyms (DPU, WIT, WOO), the semifinal games will be played at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. with the host institution playing in the later time slot. One ticket will be valid for both contests in high capacity gyms. The championship game is set for Saturday (2/28) at 7:00 p.m. at the site of the semifinal contests.  In the event that one institution hosts both the men's and women's "final four", the women's semifinals will be played on Thursday (2/26) and the men's semifinals will be played on Friday. The championship games would then be played on Saturday with the women playing at 3:00 p.m. and the men at 7:00 p.m. In this scenario, the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for each contest. This year's tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2015 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament, which beings with first-round play on March 6th.

TOURNEY TALK: Wooster has won six of the last eight NCAC Tournaments, with only Ohio Wesleyan interrupting that string with tournament crowns in 2008 and 2013. The Fighting Scots took home the tournament championship a year ago with a 71-63 victory over arch-rival Wittenberg. Wooster owns 15 postseason titles, with just over half of them coming as the No. 1 seed (1995, '99, '00, '03, '07, '09, '10, '11, '14). Wittenberg is second all-time with six tourney titles, while Ohio Wesleyan (5), Allegheny (3) and Kenyon (1) round out the list of past men's tournament champions. Wooster has appeared in the finals 21 times, including a string of 11-straight from 1997-2007, while Wittenberg has made 15 championship game appearances, followed by Allegheny (8), Ohio Wesleyan (8), Kenyon (3), Wabash (3) and Denison (1) ... Third-seeded Wabash has qualified for the tournament for the 16th year in a row. The Little Giants made back-to-back championship game appearances in 2008 and '09, falling to OWU in '08, 89-72, and dropping an 84-72 decision against Wooster in '09 ... Fourth-seeded DePauw advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament for the first time in program history last winter, eventually falling short against Wittenberg by a 63-61 margin ... Fifth-seeded Wittenberg, which is making its 26th-straight appearance in the NCAC Tournament, is seeking its first tourney title since hoisting the trophy in 2006 ... Sixth-seed Allegheny returns to the tournament field for the first time since 2011, and is in search of its first trip to the semifinal round since falling to Wabash, 73-56, in the 2009 tournament ... As the seventh seed, Denison is seeking its first tournament title in program history. In 2012, the Big Red advanced to their first ever tournament championship game where they were narrowly upended by Wooster, 53-51 ... Finally, eighth-seeded Oberlin is making its third-straight appearance in the NCAC Tournament and 12th overall. The Yeomen's last tournament win came in 1992 with they knocked off Allegheny, 88-73, in the quarterfinal round ... Wooster leads all men's team with an .805 winning percentage (62-15) in tournament games. Wittenberg follows at .698 (44-19), while Ohio Wesleyan is next at .536 (30-26) and Allegheny is the only other team men's team above the .500 mark in tournament play at .511 (24-23).