Following the first two full weeks of league action in NCAC Men’s Basketball, nationally-ranked Denison (4-0, 8-0) still remains unbeaten overall, while Hiram (2-0, 3-4) and Ohio Wesleyan (3-0, 5-3) both have unblemished records against conference foes. There is minimal action this week with just five games on the slate, led by Ohio Wesleyan hosting Kenyon (1-2, 2-5) on Saturday night and Hiram traveling to DePauw (1-2, 3-5) on Saturday afternoon.
ALLEGHENY dropped a pair of league games against Kenyon, 81-69, and Hiram, 90-78. Despite the losses, the Gators combined to shoot 43 percent (25-of-58) from beyond the arc in the two games combined, led by sophomore Billy Urso (Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Chapel) scoring 28 total points on 8-of-13 shooting from long distance.
DENISON, ranked 25th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, continued its historic start to the season by picking up a pair of road wins over Oberlin, 72-69, and a 72-68 overtime affair at Wittenberg. At 8-0 overall, the Big Red are now off to their best start in 103 years, trailing only the 11-0 start by the 1913-14 DU squad. Senior post Jett Speelman (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic) continued to be the catalyst of the Big Red’s offense with 35 total points on 13-of-23 shooting from the field, while classmate David Meurer (Granville, OH/Newark Catholic) provided a spark off the bench in the win over Wittenberg with 14 points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds.
DEPAUW notched its first league win of the season on Wednesday against Wittenberg, 58-54, but the Tigers couldn’t keep the momentum rolling as they dropped an 82-65 contest at Wooster. Senior guard Luke Lattner (Hinsdale, IL/Fenwick), who ranks 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,122 points, paced DPU in the win over Wittenberg with 19 points and seven rebounds.
HIRAM opened league play with two wins against No. 17 Wooster, 72-68, and Allegheny, 90-78. The Terriers earned the win over the Scots thanks to a combined 50 points from the junior duo of Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) and Paul Ortiz (Canton, OH/McKinley). Ortiz dropped a season-high 27 points against Wooster on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, before adding a game-high 24 points against the Gators after connecting on 6-of-9 three-point attempts. In the two games combined, Ortiz scored 51 points after shooting 58 percent (18-of-31) from the field and 67 percent (10-of-15) from beyond the arc.
KENYON moved its record to 2-5 overall after splitting a pair of league games, topping Allegheny, 81-69, and falling to Wabash, 74-65. Junior Phillip Crampton (Madison, CT/Daniel Hand), who has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, was just one rebound shy of his first-career double-double against the Gators with 22 points and nine rebounds.
OBERLIN opened the week with a narrow 72-69 home loss against No. 25 Denison, before dropping a 72-58 decision at Ohio Wesleyan. Senior guard Jack Poyle (Avon, OH/Avon) scored a season-high 23 points against the Big Red, while three Yeomen players reach double figures against OWU, including a career-high 11 points from freshman forward Andre Campbell (Pacifica, CA/Urban School).
OHIO WESLEYAN ran its December winning streak to three-straight with home wins over Wabash, 68-63, and Oberlin, 72-58. Senior post Ben Simpson (Lake Bluff, IL/Lake Forest), who finished the week with 28 points and 21 rebounds, became the 31st player in program history surpass the 1,000-point mark in the win over Wabash, while junior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) also notched a pair of double-digit scoring efforts with a team-high 17 points against Wabash and 14 more against Oberlin.
WABASH split a pair of league contests on the week, dropping a 68-63 decision at Ohio Wesleyan, before scoring a 74-65 win at Kenyon. Freshman post Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, IL/Central) scored 14 points in just 14 minutes off the bench against OWU, before scoring a season-high 22 points and pulling down eight rebounds in his first-career start on Saturday against Kenyon. Sophomore forward Logan White (Avon, IN/Avon), who matched Hallstrom’s scoring effort against KC, also pulled down a career-high 15 boards against the Lords for his third double-double of the season.
WITTENBERG lost two four-point contests at home against DePauw, 58-54, and No. 25 Denison in overtime by a 72-68 margin. Senior wing Jaelin Williams (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) hit a fade-away three in the final minute of regulation to send the game to OT against DU, but the Big Red outscored the Tigers, 9-5, in the extra session to escape Springfield with the win. Williams came off the bench in both games and combined for 25 points on 10-of-23 shooting from the field, which included a 6-of-9 clip from three-point range.
WOOSTER, ranked 17th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top-25, rebounded from a midweek 72-68 loss at Hiram with a convincing 82-65 home win over DePauw. In the win, the Scots shot a blistering 52 percent (31-of-60) from the field and held a 46-25 rebounding edge over the Tigers. Senior forward Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, OH/Green), who scored 15 points in both games, passed out a season-high six assists against Hiram and now ranks sixth in the NCAC in assist-per-game at 3.1 with 25 assists in eight games.