While nationally-ranked Wittenberg has built a two-game lead at the top of the North Coast men’s basketball standings, the race below the Tigers is starting to tighten up as just four games in the loss column separate the second-place teams from the eighth-place teams. There are once again 10 league games on the slate this week, led by Wittenberg hosting Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday night and Wabash traveling to Wooster on Saturday afternoon.
ALLEGHENY went 0-2 in NCAC action last week, falling to Wooster, 79-58, and No. 17 Ohio Wesleyan, 110-48. Sophomore Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) paced the Gators with 12 points and six rebounds against Wooster, while rookie Tavian Strobridge (Biloxi, MS/St. Patrick) came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points against OWU.
DENISON lost a pair of games last week against DePauw, 83-70, and Wabash, 63-46. Senior wing Maxwell Siwik (Broadview Hts., OH/Walsh Jesuit) combined for 31 points and seven rebounds over the two games, which included a 17-point showing in the home loss against DPU.
DEPAUW extended its winning streak to four-straight last week with road wins at Denison, 83-70, and Oberlin, 82-50. The 32-point victory over the Yeomen was the Tigers’ widest margin of victory in a road game since posting a 34-point win over Colorado College in 2008. Senior guard David Vogel (Bluffton, IN/Norwell) stuffed the stat sheet against Denison with six rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and a career-high 25 points, before adding six points and two rebounds in just 20 minutes of action against Oberlin.
HIRAM remains tied with No. 17 Ohio Wesleyan for second place in the NCAC standings after going 2-0 in league action last week with wins over OWU, 88-79, and Kenyon, 99-77. The Terriers scored the final 10 points of the game against OWU to collect the nine-point win, while the 99 points against the Lords was the most points scored against a conference opponent since scoring 120 against Denison in 2007. Senior forward Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) posted his eighth and ninth double-doubles of the year last week with 21 points and 14 rebounds against OWU, and 19 points and 10 boards against Kenyon. In addition to his scoring and rebounding numbers, Jones shot lights out on the week as he knocked down 17-of-22 attempts from the field.
KENYON split a pair of conference road games last week, topping Oberlin, 98-82, on Wednesday, before dropping a 99-77 decision at Hiram on Saturday. The Lords shot season-high 59.6 percent from the field in the win over Oberlin, led by junior guard Matt Shifrin (Wilton, CT/Wilton) scoring a team-high 23 points after shooting 7-of-9 from the field, 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
OBERLIN dropped a pair of home league games last week against Kenyon, 98-82, and DePauw, 82-50. In the loss against Kenyon, sophomore Joshua Friedkin (Emeryville, CA/Albany) scored 28 points and junior Eli Silverman-Lloyd (Culver City, CA/Winward) scored 22 points to mark the second time this season that the duo each hit the 20-point plateau in the same game.
OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 17th in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, split its league games last week with an 88-79 home loss against Hiram on Wednesday and a 110-48 win at Allegheny on Saturday. The Bishops shot 22-for-51 from three-point range in the win over Allegheny, marking the third time this season in which the Bishops have connected on 20 ore more trifectas in a game. The 22 three pointers also tied the arena record at Allegheny’s David A. Wise Center. Fourteen different players registered a point for OWU in the win, led by senior guard Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy) scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
WABASH went 1-1 in league action last week, losing at home against No. 10 Wittenberg, 72-58, on Wednesday, before posting a 63-46 victory over Denison on Saturday. The Little Giants held Denison to just 22 points in the second half, marking the lowest point total allowed by the Wabash defense in a half this season. In addition, sophomore post Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, IL/Central) also posted his fourth double-double of the season in the win over the Big Red with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
WITTENBERG, ranked 10th in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, kept its perfect season intact last week with a pair road wins at Wabash, 72-58, and arch-rival Wooster, 86-75. Wittenberg trailed Wooster at the half by a 38-36 margin, but the Tigers outscored the Scots, 50-37, in the second half to post the 11-point victory. Four different players scored in double figures against Wooster, led by sophomore guard Jordan Pumroy (Fairborn, OH/Fairborn) posting his first-career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Pumroy also led the Tigers in both statistical columns in the win over Wabash with 15 points and six rebounds.
WOOSTER increased its winning streak to eight-straight with a 79-58 win over Allegheny on Wednesday; however, the streak came to an end on Saturday with an 86-75 home loss against No. 10 Wittenberg. Wooster’s starting guard duo of junior Reece Dupler (Newark, OH/Lakewood) and senior Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., OH/Orange) turned in a consistent week for the Scots with a combined 69 points, 20 rebounds and 19 assists.