While nationally-ranked Denison (8-0, 14-1) continues to hold a two-game lead at the top of the North Coast men’s basketball standings, the race behind the Big Red is extremely tight with four teams sitting at .500 or better against league foes. Several games this week will feature some of those squads, led by Ohio Wesleyan (6-2, 9-6) hosting Wittenberg (4-4, 10-5) on Wednesday night and DePauw (5-3, 9-6) traveling to OWU on Saturday afternoon.
ALLEGHENY suffered a pair of league losses against Wooster, 91-67, and Ohio Wesleyan, 107-83. Freshman Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) scored 14 points against the Scots and a team-best 21 against OWU, while senior Evan Zabriski (Jupiter, FL/Jupiter) went 7-for-8 from the field and scored 19 points, all in the second half, against the Bishops.
DENISON, ranked 19th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, extended its winning streak to six-straight and stayed unbeaten in NCAC play with wins over DePauw, 74-61, and Wabash, 66-53. At 14-1 overall, DU is just one win shy of tying the 1913-14 squad for the best start in program history. Senior post Jett Speelman (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic) paced the Big Red with 21 points against DPU and was one of three DU players to tally 13 points in the 13-point win over Wabash.
DEPAUW has won six of its last seven games after splitting a pair of contests last week, falling to No. 19 Denison, 74-61, on Wednesday, before picking up an 80-76 win over Oberlin on Saturday. Senior Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick) has now scored 20-plus points in four-straight games after tallying 20 against DU and 29 against the Yeomen. In 63 total minutes on the week, Lattner shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field and a blistering 89 percent (16-of-18) from the charity stripe.
HIRAM had its three-game win streak stopped last week with a pair of league losses against Ohio Wesleyan, 84-78, and Kenyon, 61-55. The Terriers are now 3-4 on the year in conference contests, with all four losses coming by single digits. Against OWU, senior center Joe Caspio (Willowick, OH/Eastlake North) scored 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench, while junior center Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) broke the program’s single-game record for field goal percentage after shooting a perfect 10-of-10 from the field to top the previous mark of 93 percent set by Tony Bolden in 1977.
KENYON snapped its seven-game winless skid with a pair of much-needed wins against Oberlin, 67-59, and Hiram, 61-55. Sophomore guard Matt Shifrin (Wilton, CT/Wilton) led KC with 19 points against the Yeomen and shared the team lead against Hiram with junior Phillip Crampton (Madison, CT/Daniel Hand) with 14 points each. On the week, Shifrin shot 67 percent (10-of-15) from the field and 77 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line.
OBERLIN dropped a pair of league games last week, falling 67-59 at Kenyon, before coming up just short in an 80-76 loss at DePauw. Freshman Andre Campbell (Pacifica, CA/Urban School) had a career-high 17 points against the Lords, while sophomore Eric Holt (Atherton, CA/Harker) was one of four Yeomen to score in double figures against the Tigers with a career-best 16 points.
OHIO WESLEYAN junior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) scored a career-high 39 points in the Bishops’ 84-78 win at Hiram, while senior post Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest) notched his ninth double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 107-83 home win over Allegheny. In the win over Allegheny, OWU hit 21 three-pointers to break the previous school record of 19 set at Wittenberg on January 6, 2001, and matched last year against Hiram.
WABASH lost a pair of conference games against Wittenberg, 68-39, and No. 19 Denison, 66-53. Freshman guard Colten Garland (Washington, IN/Washington) combined to score 29 points on the week after shooting 40 percent (10-of-25) from the field, which included a 5-for-10 clip from three-point range.
WITTENBERG opened the week with a 68-39 win over Wabash, before dropping a 70-55 decision on Saturday against arch-rival Wooster. Senior wing Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) led the Tigers with 13 points and four rebounds in the win over Wabash, before notching his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 boards against the Scots.
WOOSTER head coach Steve Moore picked up his 787th career win and his 700th victory at Wooster in the Fighting Scots’ 91-67 win at Allegheny on Wednesday. Moore now ranks second all-time in NCAA Division III men’s basketball with 788 career wins in 35-plus seasons, trailing only Franklin & Marshall’s Glenn Robinson, who has compiled 922 wins in 45-plus years. The Scots then topped arch-rival Wittenberg on Saturday by a 70-55 margin. The 55 points allowed was a season-best for the Scots on the defensive side of the ball.