With the top of the North Coast men’s basketball standings beginning to take shape, the fight in the middle portion of the standings continues to heat up as the difference between the fourth position and the eighth position is just two games in the loss column. League squads return to the court this week with 10 total games, led by DePauw (5-5, 9-8) hosting Wittenberg (5-5, 11-6) on Wednesday night and Kenyon (3-7, 4-13) traveling to Wabash (4-6, 8-9) on Saturday afternoon.
ALLEGHENY topped Oberlin, 75-65, on Wednesday, before falling at Wittenberg by an 81-71 margin on Saturday. Four different Gators scored at least 14 points against the Yeomen, led by freshman Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) scoring 18 points and also sharing the team-lead with eight rebounds. Senior Evan Zabriski (Jupiter, FL/Jupiter), who scored 14 points in just 13 minutes off the bench against Oberlin, became the program’s most recent entry into the 1,000-point club after scoring 16 points against Wittenberg.
DENISON, ranked 10th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, has now posted the best start in program history at 16-1 overall following a pair of wins last week against Hiram, 83-77, and Kenyon, 82-67. In just 16 minutes of reserve action against Hiram, sophomore Claude Chandonnet (New Canaan, CT/New Canaan) scored a career-high 23 points after shooting 7-of-9 from three-point range, while senior David Meurer (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic) combined for 48 points on the week, which included a season-best 31-point effort against the Lords.
DEPAUW suffered a pair of single-digit road losses last week, first falling to arch-rival Wabash in OT by an 86-80 margin, before dropping a 79-72 decision at Ohio Wesleyan. Junior forward Jack VandeMerkt (Riverside, IL/Brookfield) led the Tigers on the week with 38 points after shooting 53 percent (17-of-32) from the field.
HIRAM split a pair of games last week, falling to No. 10 Denison, 83-77, before collecting a 74-67 win at Oberlin. Junior guard Paul Ortiz (Canton, OH/McKinley) led the Terriers with 24 points in the loss against the Big Red, while classmate Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) notched his ninth double-double of the season in the win over Oberlin with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
KENYON dropped a couple of conference contests last week against Wooster, 101-46, and No. 10 Denison, 82-67. Junior Alex Laub (Sleepy Hollow, NY/Sleepy Hollow) posted team-highs of eight points and seven rebounds against Wooster, while junior Bennett Grigull (London, England/Kimball Union Acad.) scored 12 points and grabbed four boards against DU.
OBERLIN and Allegheny were tied at 42 at the half, but the Gators pulled away in the second half to knock off the Yeomen, 75-65, in midweek action. Sophomore Eric Holt (Atherton, CA/Harker) then scored a career-high 22 points on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as Oberlin fell to Hiram, 75-67.
OHIO WESLEYAN extended its winning streak to four-straight with victories over Wittenberg, 76-70, and DePauw, 79-72. Junior guard Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy) scored 10 points in the win over Wittenberg to raise his career total to 1,003 points and make him the 32nd member of the 1,000-point club at OWU. Clark then increased his career total by scoring a career-high 31 points and tying his career-high with 10 rebounds in the seven-point win over DPU.
WABASH notched an 86-80 OT victory over arch-rival DePauw on Wednesday, before falling to Wooster, 95-54, on Saturday. The Little Giants shot a blistering 55 percent (28-of-51) from the field against DPU, which included a 65 percent (13-of-20) clip from three-point range. Freshman guard Colten Garland (Washington, IN/Washington) had a breakout performance in his first crack at the Tigers, scoring a career-best 37 points and tying the program record for made three pointers in a game after going 9-of-10 from long distance.
WITTENBERG lost a narrow 76-70 decision against Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday, but the Tigers got back to .500 in league play on Saturday with an 87-71 win over Allegheny. Senior forward Landon Hormann (West Liberty, OH/Salem) scored 12 points and pulled down seven boards in the loss against OWU, before dropping another 12 points and racking up six rebounds in the win over Allegheny.
WOOSTER was clicking on all cylinders last week with a 101-46 win over Kenyon and a 95-54 triumph over Wabash. In the win over KC, Wooster connected on 11-straight field goals in the opening half en route to scoring 63 points in the first 20 minutes, which was the eighth-highest total in program history. The Scots then stormed out to a 15-0 lead in the win over Wabash, which marked the second time this season the Scots have scored at least 15 points in a game before their opponent got on the scoreboard. Junior guard Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., OH/Orange), who currently sits at 995 careers points, scored 15 in the win over KC and added 18 more in the victory over Wabash.