The 2015-16 North Coast men’s basketball season tipped off last weekend with four teams combining to post a 3-1 record against non-conference opponents. The regular season slate will begin in earnest this week with 27 games scheduled between Monday and Saturday. Wittenberg and nationally-ranked Ohio Wesleyan both opened the season on Saturday night at the NCAC/OAC Challenge at Otterbein University, benefiting Capital University head coach Damon Goodwin, who was recently diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia. The NCAC/OAC Challenge will continue on Tuesday night in Springfield, with Ohio Wesleyan taking on Capital at 6:00 p.m. and Wittenberg battling Otterbein at 8:00 p.m.
ALLEGHENY opened the season last Friday with a narrow 70-62 home loss against Thiel in the debut of head coach Bob Simmons. Despite outscoring the Tomcats, 37-31, in the second half, the Gators couldn’t overcome a 39-25 halftime deficit and an 0-for-14 shooting performance from behind the arc. Senior Chris Milon (Novi, MI/Novi) came off the bench and led the Gators with 14 points and nine rebounds, while senior Brandon Smith (Gahanna, OH/Gahanna Lincoln) and sophomore Isaiah Henderson (Queens, NY/Pomfret School) chipped in with 10 points apiece.
OBERLIN used a big second half to earn a 91-81 win at Kalamazoo on Saturday. Five Yeomen scored in double figures, led by junior guard Jack Poyle (Avon, OH/Avon) notching a double-double with a career-high 10 rebounds and 22 points in the victory. Poyle finished the game by shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line to go along with one block and one steal.
OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 13th in the D3hoops.com Preseason poll, held off a late Otterbein rally to post an 80-75 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday night. Senior post Matt Jeske (Glen Ellyn, IL/Glenbard South) hit a pair of key three-pointers during a 9-0 run in the second half that opened up a double-digit lead and helped secure the five-point victory for the Bishops. Sophomore guard Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy), who hit five-straight free throws in the final 32 seconds to clinch the victory, finished the game with a eight rebounds and a team-high 23 points after shooting 7-of-15 from the field, 4-of-9 from three-point range and 5-of-8 from the free throw line ..
WITTENBERG kicked off its season with an 87-78 come-from-behind victory over Capital. After trailing the Crusaders, 39-33, at halftime, the Tigers shot 64 percent (14-of-22) from the field in the second half and out-rebounded Capital by a 22-15 margin en route to collecting the season-opening win. Junior wing Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) scored 12 of his team-high 21 points in the second half and went on to finish the game with six rebounds, four assists and one steal. In addition, junior guard Shane Edwards (Perrysburg, OH/Perrysburg) tallied a double-double in the victory with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.