NCAC Weekly Release (2-12-18) - Men's Basketball

Senior Chris Slonekar and the third-ranked Wittenberg Tigers clinched at least a share of the 2018 NCAC Men's Basketball title with an 84-72 win over Wabash last Wednesday
Senior Chris Slonekar and the third-ranked Wittenberg Tigers clinched at least a share of the 2018 NCAC Men's Basketball title with an 84-72 win over Wabash last Wednesday

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While nationally-ranked Wittenberg (15-1, 22-1) clinched at least a share of its first North Coast men’s basketball title since 2012 on Wednesday with an 84-72 win over Wabash (8-8, 12-11), the Tigers also dropped their first game of the season on Saturday with a 94-71 setback at Hiram (10-6, 14-9). There are still several key matchups on the schedule in the final week of the season that will have a direct impact on the seeds for the 2018 NCAC Men’s Basketball Tournament, led by Hiram hosting Denison (8-8, 12-11) on Wednesday and Wittenberg hosting Wooster (13-3, 19-4) on Saturday.

ALLEGHENY sophomore Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, PA/Taylor Allderdice) averaged 24.0 points per game and junior Billy Urso (Pittsburgh, PA/Fox Chapel) poured in 13.0 points a game last week, but the Gators went 0-2 in league action, falling against Wooster, 72-59, on Wednesday and Denison, 90-59, on Saturday.

DENISON opened play last week with a 95-87 loss at DePauw, but the Big Red bounced back with a 90-59 home win over Allegheny on Saturday. Senior Maxwell Siwik (Broadview Hts., OH/Walsh Jesuit) and junior Matt Doyle (Fairfield, CT/Ludlowe) each totaled 41 points on the week, led by Doyle scoring a career-high 25 in the loss at DPU. The duo combined to shoot 7-for-14 from long distance in the win over Allegheny to help the Big Red tie the school record with 17 made three-pointers in a game.

DEPAUW split its league slate last week, topping Denison, 95-87, at home on Wednesday, before dropping a 90-68 decision at Kenyon on Saturday. Senior Mason Hankins (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) came off the bench against the Big Red and shot a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point land en route to scoring a career-high 26 points, while freshman Nolan Ginther (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville) also posted a career-high in the win with 14 points.

HIRAM put together a statement by knocking off Ohio Wesleyan, 72-66, on Wednesday, and handing No. 3 Wittenberg its first loss of the season on Saturday with a convincing 94-71 win over the Tigers. In the win over OWU, the Terriers held one of the league’s top scoring offensive units to just 37 percent shooting from the field, while the offensive production came from freshman Jalen Kirksey (Massillon, OH/Washington) with a career-high 22 points and senior Kelvin Jones (Sheffield Lake, OH/Brookfield) with 10 points and 13 rebounds. In the win over Wittenberg, Hiram shot a season-best 60 percent from the field against the NCAC’s top defense, led by Jones tallying a season-high 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting from the field.

KENYON split a pair of home games last week, losing to Oberlin, 78-63, on Wednesday, before bouncing back on Saturday with a 90-68 win over DePauw. In the two games combined, junior guard Matt Shifrin (Wilton, CT/Wilton) poured in 39 total points after shooting 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the field, which included knocking down 6-of-11 attempts from downtown.

OBERLIN started the week with a commanding 78-63 road win at Kenyon, but the Yeomen took a step back on Saturday in its home finale with a 70-57 loss against Wabash. Sophomore guard Christian Fioretti (Menlo Park, CA/Menlo-Atherton) totaled 11 assists on the week, while also scoring 14 points in each game after shooting a combined 59 percent (13-of-22) from the field.

OHIO WESLEYAN, which is receiving votes in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, lost a pair of road games last week against two of the top-four teams in the NCAC, suffering a 72-66 setback against Hiram and a 75-72 loss at No. 23 Wooster. After dishing out six assists in the loss against Hiram, senior guard Nate Axelrod (Dublin, OH/Coffman) broke the school record for career assists previously held by Andy Winters (2009-13). He also added two helpers in the loss at Wooster to raise his career total to 624 assists. In Saturday’s loss at Wooster, senior Seth Clark (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy) scored 11 of his 19 points in the final six minutes to narrow a 12-point deficit to three, but his game-tying shot in the final seconds was just off as the Scots hung on for the thee-point win.

WABASH picked up a 70-57 road win at Oberlin on Saturday after falling to No. 3 Wittenberg, 84-72, on Wednesday in Ohio. Sophomore post Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, IL/Central) recorded his eighth double-double of the season in the win with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, while freshman guard Connor Rotterman (Fishers, IN/Hamilton Southeastern) poured in 18 in the loss against Wittenberg after shooting 6-of-11 from three-point range.

WITTENBERG, ranked third in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, clinched at least a share of the 2018 NCAC title on Wednesday with an 84-72 home win over Wabash, but the Tigers saw their remarkable 22-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with a 94-71 loss at Hiram. In the win over Wabash, senior post Chad Roy (Toledo, OH/Holland Springfield) became the 33rd player in program history to top the 1,000 point mark after scoring a game-high 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 clip at the charity stripe.

WOOSTER, ranked 23rd in the NABC/D3hoops.com Top-25, secured itself of at least the second seed in the NCAC Tournament last week after posting a pair of wins over Allegheny, 72-59, and Ohio Wesleyan, 75-72. Wooster shot a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line against Allegheny, marking the first time the Scots didn’t miss a free throw in a game since November 19, 2016. Sophomore guard Danyon Hempy (Waldo, OH/River Valley) scored 15 points and dished out four assists against Allegheny, before matching his season-high with 22 points in the win over OWU.