NCAC Weekly Release (1-19-15) - Men's Basketball

NCAC Weekly Release (1-19-15) - Men's Basketball

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At the midway point of the 2014-15 North Coast men’s basketball season, 14th-ranked Wooster (7-1, 13-2) and 17th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan (7-1, 12-3) share the lead at the top of the standings, while Wabash (6-2, 11-4) and Allegheny (5-3, 8-7) round out the top four as the only other teams with winning records against league foes. Conference action continues this week with five games each on Wednesday and Saturday, led by DePauw (3-5, 10-5) hosting Wabash on Wednesday and Ohio Wesleyan traveling to Denison (2-6, 8-7) on Saturday.

ALLEGHENY scored a pair of comeback wins last week, topping Oberlin, 62-56, on Wednesday, before edging Denison, 68-65, on Saturday. The Gators erased a four-point deficit by outscoring Oberlin, 13-3, over the final four minutes to pick up the six-point win. They erased a three-point deficit against Denison with two minutes left to earn the three-point win over the Big Red. In the two games combined, senior shooting guard Josh Valentic (Washington, PA/Trinity) scored 54 points (27.0 ppg) after shooting 57 percent (20-of-35) from the field, 54 percent (7-of-13) from three-point range and 88 percent (7-of-8) from the free throw line.

DENISON suffered a pair of three-point losses on the road last week, falling to Kenyon, 72-69, and Allegheny, 68-65. Junior Bret Woolard (Newark, OH/Newark) and senior Robby Weingart (Phoenix, AZ/McDonogh School) paced the Big Red offense by scoring 23 (11.5 ppg) and 21 (10.5 ppg) points, respectively.

DEPAUW dropped a pair of road games last week, falling in overtime against Wittenberg on Wednesday by a 65-56 margin, before suffering a 76-64 loss against 17th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday. Senior center Tommy Fernitz (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) finished the week with a pair of double-double performances, tallying 18 points and 15 rebounds against Wittenberg, and 10 points and 13 rebounds against OWU.

HIRAM split a pair of home games last week, falling to 14th-ranked Wooster on Wednesday by an 85-60 margin, before picking up an 80-63 victory over Oberlin on Saturday. In the win over the Yeomen, the Terriers were led by junior J.J. Woodson (Cleveland, OH/Bedford) with a game-high 23 points and junior Ray Gaston (Warren, OH/John F. Kennedy), who posted his first-career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

KENYON snapped a four-game losing streak with a 72-69 triumph over league-rival Denison on Wednesday, but the Lords couldn’t keep the momentum going into the weekend as they dropped a narrow 60-56 decision against Wabash. Junior center Brien Comey (Westport, CT/Green Farms Acad.) scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the win over Denison, before posting his first double-double of the season in the loss against Wabash with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

OBERLIN dropped a pair of conference road games last week against Allegheny, 62-56, and Hiram, 80-63. Junior center Randy Ollie (Evanston, IL/Evanston) notched his first double-double of the season against Allegheny with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Nathan Cohen (San Francisco, CA/Urban School) led the Yeomen against Hiram with 14 points.

OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 17th in the most recent Top 25, split a pair of games against Indiana foes last week, first falling to Wabash, 75-70, on Wednesday, before knocking off DePauw, 76-64, on Saturday. Freshman guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) led OWU with five assists and a season-high 26 points against Wabash, while junior post Claude Gray (Avon, OH/Avon) led the Bishops in the win over DPU with 23 points and 12 rebounds. In addition, head coach Mike DeWitt collected his 300th career win and 250th victory at the helm of the OWU program in the Bishops’ 12-point win over DePauw.

WABASH won a pair of tight contests last week, topping 17th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan, 75-70, on Wednesday, before escaping with a 60-56 victory at Kenyon on Saturday. Sophomore guard Kyle Aiton (Newburgh, IN/Castle), who hit the game-winner against OWU with just 15 seconds left in the game, finished the week with 33 points (16.5 ppg) and 11 rebounds (5.5 rpg), while shooting 42 percent (11-of-26) from the field, 46 percent (6-of-13) from three-point range and 83 percent (5-of-6) from the charity stripe.

WITTENBERG outscored DePauw, 15-6, in the overtime session on Wednesday to earn a 65-56 win; however, despite their best shooting performance of the season, the Tigers dropped a 104-97 shootout at arch-rival and 14th-ranked Wooster on Saturday. Junior Alex Fultz (Batavia, OH/Glen Este) led Wittenberg with 14 points and seven rebounds against DPU, while sophomore Cody Phillippi (Xenia, OH/Xenia) stuffed the stat sheet against Wooster with 18 points, four rebounds and four assists.

WOOSTER, ranked 14th in the most recent Top 25, moved into a tie for first with OWU in the league standings last week with a pair of wins over Hiram, 85-60, and arch-rival Wittenberg, 104-97. History was made in the win over Wittenberg as Wooster had two players eclipse the 30-point plateau in the same game for the first time in program history, with seniors Xavier Brown (Bowling Green, OH/Bowling Green) and Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) finishing the contest with 33 and 30, respectively.