North Coast men’s basketball teams wrapped up the non-conference portion of the 2015-16 schedule over the holiday break with three league teams winning tournament titles, including DePauw (2-2, 6-5), Hiram (3-1, 9-2) and Wittenberg (3-1, 8-3). NCAC squads return to the court this week with nine conference games on the slate, led by Wittenberg hosting Ohio Wesleyan (3-1, 10-1) on Wednesday and Wooster (3-1, 7-4) traveling to Oberlin (2-3, 6-5) on Saturday.
ALLEGHENY suffered a pair of tight losses over the break against Grove City, 61-58, and DePauw, 67-64. Senior forward Chris Milon (Novi, MI/Novi) led the Gators against the Wolverines with 15 points, while sophomore forward Donte Wallette (Gates Mills, OH/Gilmour Acad.) scored a team-high 14 against the Tigers.
DENISON went 1-1 last week, earning a 79-67 home victory over Ohio Northern, before suffering an 83-67 loss at Wooster. Junior wing Matthew Bauer (Winnetka, IL/Loyola Acad.) notched a pair of double-double performances on the week with 16 points and 12 rebounds against ONU, and 11 points and 11 boards against the Scots.
DEPAUW extended its winning streak to four-straight over the break after winning its seventh-straight Tampa Bay Shootout title and also collecting a 67-64 victory over Allegheny. The Tigers secured the Shootout title with victories over Coast Guard, 82-71, and Buena Vista, 81-79. Junior guard Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick), who was named the Tampa Bay Shootout MVP, combined for 58 points (19.3 ppg) in the three games after shooting 53 percent (20-of-38) from the field, 57 percent (9-of-16) from three-point range and 64 percent (9-of-14) from the free throw line.
HIRAM continued its winning ways over the break by winning the Bluffton Holiday Tournament with victories over Illinois College, 71-64, and Bluffton, 91-71, before improving to 3-1 in league play with an 80-64 triumph over Wabash. Sophomore Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) was named the MVP of the Bluffton Tournament after shooting a combined 11-of-12 from the field, while senior J.J. Woodson (Oakwood Village, OH/Bedford) tallied a career-best 30 points against the Little Giants after shooting 12-of-21 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.
KENYON opened the break with a 96-75 loss against Mt. Vernon Nazarene, before posting a 1-1 record in Virginia at the Roanoke Morris Cregger Classic with a 91-87 victory over Montclair State and an 84-76 setback against Roanoke. In the three games combined, senior center Brien Comey (Westport, CT/Green Farms Acad.) scored 63 points (21.0 ppg) and pulled down 16 rebounds (5.3 rpg), while shooting 70 percent (26-of-37) from the field and 79 percent (11-of-14) from the free throw line.
OBERLIN dropped a 104-58 decision at NCAA Div. I Kent State in its only action over the break. Junior guard Nathan Cohen (San Francisco, CA/Urban) led the Yeomen in the loss with 19 points.
OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked ninth in the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, topped Transylvania, 96-72, in its only action over the break. Sophomore guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) led the Bishops in the victory with 26 points and seven assists, while junior post Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards.
WABASH closed out its non-conference schedule with a 92-76 win over Franklin on Dec. 21st, before falling to Hiram, 80-64, in league action on Jan. 3rd. Freshman guard Johnny Jager (Bloomington, IN/South) paced the Little Giants in the win with 22 points, while classmate Evan Frank (Indianapolis, IN/Park Tudor) posted career-highs in the loss with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
WITTENBERG dropped a narrow 73-70 decision against Heidelberg to open play over the break, but the Tigers bounced back with a pair of wins over Earlham, 74-58, and No. 21 Washington (MO), 72-61, to capture the 2015 Charles B. Zimmerman Memorial Classic in Springfield. Junior guard Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) was named the tournament MVP after scoring 24 points and pulling down seven rebounds in the 11-point victory over the Bears. In the three games combined, Williams scored 53 points (17.7), pulled down 16 rebounds (5.3 rpg) and handed out five assists (1.6 apg).
WOOSTER, which appears in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, combined for a 2-2 record over the break. The Scots closed out their trip to Puerto Rico with a 67-50 setback against Salisbury, split a pair of games at its annual “Mose” Hole/Kiwanis Classic and topped Denison, 83-67, in its first league game of 2016. Sophomore guard Spencer Williams (Bedford, OH/Orange) led the Scots with 18 points in the victory over Denison and finished the four-game stretch with 55 points (13.8 ppg) after shooting 20-of-50 from the field, 7-of-15 from three-point range and 8-of-13 from the charity stripe.