Ohio Wesleyan (25-4) and Wooster (23-7) have both advanced to the Sectional Round of the 2016 NCAA Division Men’s Basketball Tournament, marking the first time since 2012 that the NCAC has had two teams playing on the second weekend of the national tournament.
OHIO WESLEYAN will be making the trip to Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, for sectional round play in the national tournament after posting back-to-back home wins last weekend against Pitt.-Greensburg, 114-68, and Lynchburg, 97-94, in the first and second rounds, respectively. The Battling Bishops, who are one of only six teams to be playing in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row, will be playing in the sectional round of the national tournament for the first time since the 2007-08 season. OWU will be squaring off against the host Benedictine (28-0) Eagles on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. The other third-round contest in Illinois will feature St. Norbert (25-2) and Alma (23-6) at 5:30 p.m. ET. Friday’s winners will then meet on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET with a trip to the national semifinals on the line. In the second-round victory over Lynchburg on Friday, OWU senior Claude Gray (Avon, OH/Avon) scored 20 points to move into 10th place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,445 career points. In addition, the Bishops’ 46-point victory over Pitt.-Greensburg in the opening round was the 284th win for head coach Mike DeWitt, making him the winningest men’s basketball coach in Ohio Wesleyan history.
WOOSTER dug itself out of an 11-point deficit with 5:00 left in regulation against Endicott in the second round, ultimately forcing overtime where the Scots took control of the game and advanced to the sectional round of the national tournament for the 10th time in the last 18 years with a 91-83 victory over the Gulls. Wooster advanced to the second round with a convincing 96-83 triumph over Lancaster Bible in the opening round. While the sectional round is no stranger to the Scots, it will be their first trip back to the round of 16 since the 2013 season. The Scots will now make the trek to upstate New York for the sectional rounds where they will take on host SUNY-Oswego (22-8) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. In the other third-round game in New York, Christopher Newport (30-1) will square off against Keene State (20-10). The third round winners will then meet on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. with a trip to the national semifinals in Salem, Virginia, on the line. Wooster junior Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, OH/Green) exploded for 65 points on the opening weekend of the national tournament, which included a career-high 45 points on 21-of-24 shooting from the field in the opening round win over LBC. The 21 made field goals tied the NCAA Div. III Tournament record, last accomplished by Gerald Reece of William Penn in 1981.
DENISON saw its late-season run come to an end in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Div. III Men’s Basketball Tournament with a 74-60 loss against Alma (22-6) at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. The Big Red, who qualified for the national tournament after winning their first NCAC Tournament in program history last weekend, trailed by nine at half, 38-29, and drew within five, 40-35, early in the second half on a layup by junior Jett Speelman (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic), but the Scots regained control of the game after that and held on for the 14-point victory. Speelman led the Big Red with 15 points, while senior Darius White (Columbus, OH/East) and junior David Meurer (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic) each chipped in 12 points apiece for DU.