NCAC Weekly Release (12-11-17) - Men's Basketball

Wittenberg junior Mitch Balser has played a vital role in leading the Tigers to an 8-0 record to start the season for the first time since 1993-94
Wittenberg junior Mitch Balser has played a vital role in leading the Tigers to an 8-0 record to start the season for the first time since 1993-94

Complete .PDF

Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan both remain undefeated in NCAC men’s basketball action after the first two weeks of league play, while Denison, Hiram and Wabash are not far behind with one conference loss each. There are just seven total games on the schedule this week, led by Hiram hosting Wabash on Saturday and Allegheny entertaining Wabash on Sunday.

ALLEGHENY went 0-2 in league action last week, falling to Kenyon, 64-62, and Hiram, 88-67. Sophomore forward Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) notched his second double-double of the season in the two-point loss against the Lords with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while classmate Jamison Nee (Natrona Hts., PA/Highlands) paced the Gators against Hiram with a game-high 20 points.

DENISON opened play last week with an 80-61 home win over Oberlin, before dropping its first league game of the season on Saturday with an 86-55 loss against Wittenberg. Thirteen different Big Red players recorded a basket in the win over Oberlin, led by senior guard Garrett Collier (McLean, VA/Langley) with 15 points, four assists and four rebounds.

DEPAUW was tied with Wittenberg at halftime and trailed Wooster by one at the break, but strong second halves by both visiting teams sent the Tigers to a pair of losses last week against the Ohio Tigers, 77-64, and the Fighting Scots, 83-63. Senior forward Jack VandeMerkt (Riverside, IL/Brookfield) led the Tigers on the week with 30 points and 13 rebounds, highlighted by a 17-point and eight-rebound effort in the loss against Wooster.

HIRAM split a pair of league games last week to sit at 2-1 overall in conference action. After dropping a 91-70 decision at Wooster, the Terriers knocked off Allegheny, 87-66, at home on Saturday. Five players scored in double-figures in the win over the Gators, led by seniors Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookside) and Terrence Warren (Farmington Hills, MI/Walled Lake Central) scoring 14 apiece. Jones, who also grabbed 10 rebounds against the Gators, notched another double-double against Wooster with 18 points and 10 boards.

KENYON split a pair of league games last week, topping Allegheny, 64-62, on Wednesday, before dropping a 70-57 decision at Wabash. Senior center Alex Laub (Sleepy Hollow, NY/Sleepy Hollow) notched a double-double in the win over the Gators with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Carter Powell (Greenville, SC/St. Joseph) led the Lords against the Little Giants with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.

OBERLIN concluded its first-semester schedule with an 80-61 loss at Denison on Wednesday, before pushing No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan to the brink on Saturday as the Yeomen held the Bishops to a season-low 67 points, but managed just 58 of their own in the nine-point league loss. Freshman forward Isaac Finestone (San Francisco, CA/Lowell) was a spark off the bench for the Yeomen last week as he scored 18 points and ripped down 15 rebounds over the two games combined. He scored a season-high 11 points against Denison, before grabbing a season-high 10 boards against the Bishops.

OHIO WESLEYAN, ranked 19th in the NABC/ Top-25, remained unbeaten in league play last week with a pair of road wins at Wabash, 81-74, and Oberlin, 67-58. Senior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) put the Bishops ahead for good against the Little Giants with a pair of late free throws and led OWU in the win with 21 points and four assists, while sophomore post Grant Gossard (Westerville, OH/Olentangy Orange) tallied his first double-double of the season in the win over Oberlin with 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

WABASH dropped an 81-74 home decision against No. 19 Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday, but kept its perfect record in NCAC road games intact on Saturday with a 70-57 win at Kenyon. Freshman guard Jack Davidson (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) scored 38 points over the two games, which included a game-high 22 against OWU, while sophomore forward Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, IL/Central) just missed a double-double in the win over Kenyon with 16 points and eight rebounds.

WITTENBERG has opened the season with eight-straight wins for the first time since the 1993-94 season after earning a pair of NCAC road wins last week at DePauw, 77-64, and Denison, 86-55. Junior guard Mitch Balser (Centerville, OH/Centerville) was the catalyst for the Tigers’ success last week as he scored 17 points against DePauw and added 18 more against the Big Red. In the two games combined, Balser handed out eight total assists, pulled down seven rebounds and shot 13-of-25 from the field, 6-of-11 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.

WOOSTER, which is receiving votes in the NABC/ Top-25, used a pair of strong second-half efforts in two league wins against Hiram, 91-70, and DePauw, 83-63. On Wednesday the Scots outscored Hiram, 56-34, over the final 20 minutes, before closing out the game against DePauw on a 21-5 run to secure the 20-point win. Junior forward Eric Bulic (Brunswick, OH/Brunswick) posted his second double-double of the season in the win over Hiram with 11 rebounds and a career-high 23 points, while senior guard Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., OH/Orange) finished the week with 43 points, eight assists and six rebounds.