The North Coast men’s basketball season kicked off in earnest last week with all 10 league teams in action, led by Wittenberg (0-0, 2-0) and nationally-ranked Ohio Wesleyan (0-0, 4-0) picking up wins on Tuesday against Otterbein and Capital, respectively, in the NCAC/OAC Challenge. It will be another busy week with 16 games on the schedule, highlighted by Wittenberg hosting Oberlin (0-0, 3-1) in the first conference game of the season on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.
ALLEGHENY dropped a 67-63 decision against Juniata, before dropping a pair of games against Adrian, 84-51, and Case, 96-79, in the Gators’ fourth Annual Greg Richards ‘08 Memorial Classic. Junior Conor Macomber (Beverly, MA/St. John’s Prep) scored a career-high 20 points against Juniata, while senior Evan Schweitzer (Bethel Park, PA/Bethel Park) was named to the All-Classic team after scoring 13 points in the loss against Case.
DENISON posted a 78-63 season-opening win at Washington & Jefferson, before going 1-1 at Otterbein’s Smokey Ballenger Tournament. The Big Red fell against Otterbein, 69-67, but rebounded with an 81-71 victory over Hanover. Junior Jett Speelman (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic), who averaged 20.3 points and 8.7 rebounds in the three games, was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 40 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in the two tournament games.
DEPAUW opened the season with an 84-79 win over Franklin, before falling twice at the Washington (MO) Lopata Classic against Johns Hopkins, 82-74, and Pomona-Pitzer, 77-74. In the three games combined, sophomore David Vogel (Bluffton, IN/Norwell) averaged 17.0 points and 4.3 rebounds, while junior Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick) scored 48 points, which included a 27-point performance in the season-opening win over Franklin.
HIRAM dropped its opener against Division I Akron by a 100-30 margin, but the Terriers bounced back with two wins at the Buzz Ridl Classic against Thiel, 84-81, and host Westminster, 94-91. Senior J.J. Woodson (Oakwood Village, OH/Bedford) scored 21 against the Tomcats, while sophomore Paul Ortiz (Canton, OH/McKinley) poured in a game-high 25 points against the Titans. Both players were named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts.
KENYON opened the season with a 1-2 record, which included a 68-47 season-opening loss against Division I Miami (OH) and an 83-71 victory over Geneva. Freshman guard Matt Shifrin (Wilton, CT/Wilton) came off the bench for the Lords in all three games last week and scored 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-8 shooting from three-point range.
OBERLIN juniors Jack Poyle (Avon, OH/Avon) and Nathan Cohen (San Francisco, CA/Urban) combined for 48 points in the Yeomen’s 102-94 victory over Muskingum, while senior center Randy Ollie (Evanston, IL/Evanston) scored a career-high 28 points in a 71-62 victory over Alfred State.
OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 13th in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll, kept its undefeated record intact last week with three wins against Capital, 72-59, Alma, 96-77, and Calvin, 91-83. Senior wing Claude Gray (Avon, OH/Avon) finished the week with 66 points and 11 rebounds, which included a 27-point, five-rebound showing in the Bishops’ eight-point win over Calvin.
WABASH topped Illinois Tech in its home opener by a 75-57 margin, before finishing third at the Wheaton (IL) Lee Pfund Classic with a 76-59 loss against Defiance in the semifinals and an 89-75 victory over George Fox in the third-place game. Senior Daniel Purvlicis (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville), who posted a double-double in the opener with 18 points and 14 boards, was named to the All-Tournament team at Wheaton after combining for 41 points and 11 rebounds.
WITTENBERG cruised past Otterbein, 71-41, in its only action last week. Senior forward Alex Fultz (Batavia, OH/Glen Este) led the Tigers in the win with 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists, while also shooting 5-of-6 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
WOOSTER, ranked 20th in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll, split a pair of games last week as part of the annual Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic, easily dispatching Silver Lake, 89-48, before dropping a 72-63 decision against Skidmore. Sophomore guard Spencer Williams (Bedford, OH/Orange) was the lone Wooster player to reach double figures scoring in both games, tossing in 12 against Silver Lake and adding 11 more in the loss against Skidmore.