While nationally-ranked Wittenberg has built a comfortable lead for one of the coveted top four spots in the 2018 NCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, the fight for the three remaining top-four slots remains up for grabs over the final three weeks of the regular season. There are 10 total games on the slate this week, led by Denison hosting Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday and Wooster entertaining the Big Red on Saturday.
ALLEGHENY junior Billy Urso (Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Chapel) scored a career-high 30 points and set the program’s single game record with eight three pointers, but it wasn’t enough in a 97-78 loss at Kenyon. In a 61-49 loss against Hiram on Saturday, sophomore Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) led the Gators with 12 points, while freshman Nijon Kirkman (Cleveland, OH/John Hay) added nine points and 10 rebound.
DENISON dropped to 6-6 in league play following a pair of losses against Oberlin, 59-52, and No. 3 Wittenberg, 84-61. Sophomore Jack Coulter (San Francisco, CA/St. Ignatius) scored 10 points against the Yeomen, while senior Maxwell Siwik (Broadview Hts., OH/Walsh Jesuit) paced DU with 15 points against the Tigers.
DEPAUW suffered a pair of setbacks against two of the NCAC’s top teams last week, falling at No. 3 Wittenberg, 76-64, on Wednesday, before dropping a 65-57 decision at Wooster on Saturday. Senior Jack VandeMerkt (Riverside, IL/Brookfield) led the Tigers against Wittenberg with 14 points and eight rebounds, freshman Josh Hall (Bloomington, IN/South) added 13 points and seven boards against the Scots.
HIRAM currently sits in fourth in the conference standings at 8-4 after splitting a pair of games last week, opening with a heartbreaking 78-70 overtime loss against Wooster, before picking up a 61-49 win at Allegheny on Saturday. Freshman Jalen Kirksey (Massillon, OH/Washington) led the Terriers in scoring in both games with 14 points against Wooster and 12 more against the Gators. In the two games combined, Kirksey shot 50 percent (10-of-20) from the field and 75 percent (6-of-8) from the free throw line, while also adding 13 total rebounds and three assists.
KENYON split a pair of games last week, knocking off Allegheny, 97-78, on Wednesday, before dropping a 65-51 decision at Wabash on Saturday. In the win over the Gators, senior Phillip Crampton (Madison, CT/Daniel Hand) scored a season-high 24 points after shooting 8-for-16 from the field, which included knocking down 5-of-8 from three-point range.
OBERLIN earned its first win over Denison since December 10, 2012, with a 59-52 home victory over the Big Red on Wednesday. The Yeomen defense held Denison to just 33.9 percent shooting from the field and a season-low point total. Offensively, sophomore Andre Campbell (San Francisco, CA/Urban) led the Yeomen with 17 points in the win. Campbell also did his part in a tight 78-71 loss at Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday by pouring in a career-high 29 points to accompany his nine rebounds.
OHIO WESLEYAN, which is receiving votes in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, picked up a pair of wins last week against Wabash, 88-76, and Oberlin, 78-71. Junior Chris Allocco (Hilliard, OH/Bradley) scored all of his career-high 19 points in the second half as the Bishops overcame a halftime deficit in the 12-point win over the Little Giants. Senior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) reached a pair of career milestones last week, first becoming just the second player in school history and the fourth in NCAC history to eclipse the 600-assist mark as he has now accumulated 604 total helpers in his career. Axelrod also started his 105th consecutive game at OWU against Oberlin, which broke the previous school record of 104 consecutive starts set by Justun Lott from 1991-95.
WABASH picked up its fifth home victory of the season on Saturday with a 65-51 win over Kenyon thanks in part to a pair of double-double performances. Sophomore Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, IL/Naperville) notched his seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Jack Davidson (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) hit the mark for the third time this year with 15 points and 11 boards. Hallstrom also added 16 points and 13 rebounds in an 88-76 loss at OWU on Wednesday.
WITTENBERG, ranked third in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, continued to roll through its regular season slate with two more double-digit victories last week against DePauw, 76-64, and Denison, 84-61. Junior Mitch Balser (Centerville, OH/Centerville) played a vital role in the win over the scrappy Indiana Tigers with 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while senior Chad Roy (Toledo, OH/Holland Springfield) scored a career-high 25 points against Denison and pulled down nine rebounds in both of the Wittenberg victories last week.
WOOSTER, which is receiving votes in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, remained tied with OWU for second place in the league standings last week with a 78-70 overtime win over Hiram and a 65-57 victory over DePauw. After sinking a layup with 38 seconds left in the first half against DePauw, senior Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., OH/Orange) became the 10th Fighting Scot player to eclipse 1,500 career points. In the two wins last week, Williams combined for 39 points after shooting 13-of-33 from the field and 13-of-18 from the charity stripe.