NCAC Weekly Release (2-9-15) - Men's Basketball

NCAC Weekly Release (2-9-15) - Men's Basketball

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The NCAC men’s basketball standings are beginning to take shape as Ohio Wesleyan (12-2, 17-4) has built a two-game lead over Wooster (10-4, 16-5) for the top spot. Wabash (9-5, 14-7) and DePauw (8-6, 15-6) round out the top four in third and fourth, respectively, while Denison (7-7, 13-8) and Allegheny (7-7, 10-11) are deadlocked in the fifth position. League play resumes this week with five games each on Wednesday and Saturday, led by OWU hosting Wabash on Wednesday night and Wooster traveling to Wittenberg on Saturday afternoon.

ALLEGHENY fell back to .500 in league play following a pair of losses last weekend against DePauw, 60-56, and Wabash, 63-49. Sophomore forward Evan Zabriski (Jupiter, FL/Jupiter) posted his second double-double of the season in the loss against DePauw with 11 points and 10 rebounds, before leading the squad with 16 points against Wabash.

DENISON ran its winning streak to three-straight after collecting a pair of league wins last week against Oberlin, 90-68, and 20th-ranked Wooster, 76-70. Saturday’s win over the Fighting Scots marked the Big Red’s first win over Wooster since February 1, 1997. Senior post Briggs King (Evanston, IL/Loyola Acad.), who scored 14 points in the win over Oberlin, collected his fifth double-double of the season in the six-point win over Wooster after pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring a career-high 26 points. In the two games combined, King shot 67 percent (18-of-27) from the field, 50 percent (3-of-6) from three-point range and 50 percent (1-of-2) from the free throw line.

DEPAUW jumped back above .500 in league play and extended its winning streak to four-straight with its first conference road wins of the season last weekend at Allegheny, 60-56, and Hiram, 75-61. Sophomore guard Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick) and senior guard Connor Rich (Tipton, IN/Tipton) each poured in 13 points in the win over the Gators, while senior forward Bob Dillon (Indianapolis, IN/Brebeuf) and senior guard Michael Onuorah (Indianapolis, IN/Brebeuf) scored 18 points apiece in the victory over Hiram.

HIRAM suffered a heartbreaking 73-72 loss on Friday evening as Wabash drained a three-quarter court shot as time expired. The Terriers also fell in league action on Saturday against DePauw by a 75-61 margin. Junior J.J. Woodson (Cleveland, OH/Bedford) led the Terriers with 17 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists against Wabash, while freshman Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) finished with 12 points and seven rebounds against DPU.

KENYON dropped a pair of high-scoring affairs last week, falling just short against 20th-ranked Wooster, 93-91, on Wednesday, before being topped by Ohio Wesleyan, 102-93, on Saturday in Delaware. In the nine-point loss against OWU, senior Cooper Handelsman (Pittsburgh, PA/Shady Side Acad.) dished out a career-high 14 assists to re-set the Kenyon record as well as the venue record at OWU’s Branch Rickey Arena. He also finished just one rebound shy of a triple-double in the loss with 11 points and nine rebounds.

OBERLIN lost a pair of conference road games last week, getting off to a slow start in a 90-68 loss at Denison on Wednesday, before succumbing to a strong second-half effort by Wittenberg in a 71-53 loss on Saturday. Junior center Randy Ollie (Evanston, IL/Evanston) was 5-of-5 from the floor against Wittenberg and finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds.

OHIO WESLEYAN, which appears in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the most recent Top 25, withstood a pair of tight conference contests last week, defeating Wittenberg, 49-47, on Wednesday, before topping Kenyon, 102-93, on Saturday. In the win over Wittenberg, freshman guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 9:12 left in the game and also came up with a timely steal in the closing seconds to halt the Tigers’ late rally. Axelrod, who also led the Bishops with 14 points in the win over Wittenberg, broke his own program record with 12 assists in the win over KC on Saturday. In addition, Axelrod added 25 points in the win over Kenyon to mark the second time this season that three or more OWU players scored 20 or more points in a game as junior post Claude Gray (Avon, OH/Avon) and sophomore wing Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) finished the game with 23 points apiece.

WABASH won a pair of league road games last weekend, starting with a thrilling 73-72 victory over Hiram on Friday that saw junior guard Austin Burton (Crawfordsville, IN/Southmont) nail a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer to secure the one-point win. Junior forward Daniel Purvlicis (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville) paced the Little Giants in the win with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while junior center Marcus Kammrath (Union Mills, IN/South Central) scored a career-high 16 points in his first start of the season. Kammrath also excelled for the Little Giants in the 63-49 win over Allegheny on Saturday with his first double-double of the season on 12 points and 10 rebounds.

WITTENBERG split a pair of league games last week, falling in a nail-biter against Ohio Wesleyan, 49-47, on Wednesday, before topping Oberlin by a 71-53 margin on Saturday. Sophomore wing Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) scored a career-high 23 points and was nearly perfect from the field in the win over Oberlin, shooting 8-of-10 from the field, 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

WOOSTER, ranked 20th in the most recent Top 25, held off a comeback bid against Kenyon with a 93-91 win on Wednesday, before seeing its 30-game win streak against Denison snapped on Saturday with a 76-72 loss against the Big Red. Senior forward Evan Pannell (Akron, OH/Archbishop Hoban) scored 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field against Kenyon, before leading the Scots with 25 points in the loss against Denison.