Second-seeded Wittenberg (23-5) captured back-to-back NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament titles after knocking off top-seeded Wooster (23-5) by a 79-75 margin on Saturday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, Ohio. As tournament champions, the Tigers have earned the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament, which will open with first and second round games next weekend on campus sites.
The Scots jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but the Tigers used a 7-0 run to takeover and hold the advantage for the next seven minutes. Wooster tied the game at 19-all and did not look back in the final 10:50 of the half to go into the locker room with a five-point lead, 41-36. The Scots' lead only lasted two minutes into the second frame, as Wittenberg went ahead 44-43 until Wooster tied it back up at 65-all. The Tigers went ahead, while Wooster kept it close, tying the game at 72-72. The two teams traded three-point baskets before a made layup with seven seconds left put Wittenberg up by two. Two clutch free throws would then secure the game and the Tigers seventh overall tournament title. Wittenberg held the advantage in points in the paint, 34-12, rebounds, 30-28, and shot 54.7 percent (29-of-53) from the floor, while Wooster's bench netted 16 points compared to the Tigers' reserves posting 10 points.
After recording 16 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in the championship game Wittenberg sophomore James Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Roger Bacon) collected the Al Van Wie Award as the tournament's most valuable player. In the three tournament games combined, Johnson scored 47 points, pulled in 13 rebounds, earned four steals, dished three assists and claimed two blocks.
Joining Johnson on the 2019 NCAC Men's Basketball All-Tournament Team was junior teammate Connor Seipel (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport, Madison) along with DePauw sophomore Nick Felke (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth), Wabash junior Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) and Wooster seniors Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) and Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood).
|2019 NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament|
Tuesday, February 19
|Friday, February 22
|Saturday, February 23
|#1 Wooster 91, #8 Allegheny 89 - Boxscore||#1 Wooster 73, #4 DePauw 52 - Boxscore||#2 Wittenberg 79, #1 Wooster 75 - Boxscore|
|#2 Wittenberg 73, #7 Ohio Wesleyan 51 - Boxscore||#2 Wittenberg 89 #3 Wabash 75 - Boxscore|
|#3 Wabash 87,#6 Hiram 76 - Boxscore|
|#4 DePauw 66, #5 Oberlin 62 - Boxscore|
|Bracket -- Stats -- Tickets -- Directions -- Merchandise -- NCAC Tournament Records|
The finals are set for the 2019 NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament with Wooster and Wittenberg to meet for the title on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, Ohio. The Fighting Scots will be playing in the championship game for the 26th time in program history, while the Tigers will be playing in the title game for the 17th time.
In the first semifinal game of the night, top-seeded Wooster advanced to the championship finale by recording a 73-52 semifinal victory over fourth-seeded DePauw. In the first 20 minutes of action, the Scots were led by junior Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley), who netted 18 points, and senior Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick), who recorded 10 points and seven boards. The Tigers were led by sophomore Nolan Ginther's (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) 10 points and four rebounds at the half. The second half would see sophomore Nick Felke (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) put up 11 points for DePauw, while sophomore Keonn Scott (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) led Wooster with nine points in the final 20 minutes. The Fighting Scots took the advantage in rebounds, 41-35, and points in the paint, 42-26, while the Tigers' reserves netted 24 points compared to the Scots' bench players scoring 16 points in the semifinal contest.
Wooster's Hempy led all scorers finishing the game with 24 points and five rebounds, while Bulic pulled in a game-high 13 rebounds to tally a double-double on the night as he netted 14 points. DePauw's Felke recorded 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals, while sophomore teammate Josh Hall (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South) came off the bench to pull down eight rebounds in the semifinal loss.
In the second semifinal game on Friday night, second-seeded Wittenberg earned an 89-75 victory over third-seeded Wabash to advance to the tournament title game. In the first half, Wabash freshman Tyler Watson (Brownsburg, Ind./Tri-West) scored six points and classmate Jayden Edwards (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) came off the bench to contribute five points and five rebounds. Wittenberg junior Jordan Pumroy (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) and sophomore James Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Roger Bacon) netted 10 points each, while junior Jake Bertemes (Springfield, Ohio/Southeastern) and freshman Levi Boettcher (Urbana, Ohio/Urbana) put up nine points apiece in the first 20 minutes. The Tigers went into the locker room with a 46-31 advantage. After the break, Wittenberg junior Connor Seipel (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport, Madison) put up 15 points, while Johnson posted nine. Wabash junior Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) netted 17 points and sophomore Jack Davidson (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) scored nine as the Little Giants outscored the Tigers 44-43 in the final 20 minutes. The teams were evenly matched on the glass with 27 rebounds each, while Wabash led in points in the paint, 40-28, and bench points, 21-18.
The Little Giants were led by a game-high 22 points from Hallstrom, who also grabbed seven boards and earned one steal. Wabash's Davidson tallied 14 points on the night to go along with six assists, while Edwards pulled in seven rebounds. Wittenberg was led by Johnson who recorded 19 points, four rebounds, one block and one steal. Seipel and Bertemes both netted 17 points, while Seipel also contributed nine rebounds and three assists and Bertemes dished three helpers and claimed one block in the semifinal win.
The top four seeds all posted victories on Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament. As a result, top-seeded Wooster (21-4) will host the "final four" Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, at Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, Ohio. The Fighting Scots will face fourth-seeded DePauw (17-9) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, while the second semifinal will feature second-seeded Wittenberg (21-5) and third-seeded Wabash (21-5) at 7:30 p.m. The semifinal winners will play in the tournament championship game at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday in Wooster.
After leading a majority of the game, eighth-seeded Allegheny (10-14) almost pulled off the upset over top-seeded Wooster. The Gators led 48-40 after the first half, but the Fighting Scots rallied for the scoring advantage in the second half as senior Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood) drove the lane and put Wooster up by two with just three seconds remaining in regulation to secure the 91-89 win. Allegheny held the advantage in rebounds, 34-21, and points in the paint, 44-36, while Wooster's bench outscored the Gator reserves, 32-6, and netted 30 points off of Allegheny turnovers. Four Scots netted double-digit points, led by junior Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley) who scored 27 points to go along with six assists, two rebounds and one steal, while Dupler scored 20 points, dished five assists, claimed four steals and gathered two boards. Allegheny junior Jordan Rawls (Pittsburgh, Pa./ Taylor Allderdice) led all scorers with 28 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and one steal, while freshman Brian Roberts, Jr. (Copley, Ohio/Copley) tallied 25 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals and sophomore Lamar Todd (Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderdice) grabbed a game-high nine boards.
Second-seeded Wittenberg led coast-to-coast in a 73-51 win over seventh-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (12-14) in the quarterfinal round. The Tigers led by as many as 30 points twice in the second half, while also holding an advantage in two key statistical categories, including rebounds, 41-31, and points in the paint, 36-24. The Battling Bishops saw their bench players net more points compared to Wittenberg's reserves, 38-21, while Ohio Wesleyan also shot better from behind the arc netting seven three pointers. Four different Tigers scored in double figures, led by junior Connor Seipel (Columbus, Ohio/Groveport, Madison) who tallied a game-high 29 points,13 rebounds and three blocks, to go along with one steal and one assist. Freshman Levi Boettcher (Urbana, Ohio/Urbana) came off the bench to score 10 points and pull down six boards for the Tigers in his first NCAC tournament game. For Ohio Wesleyan, sophomore Dawsin Tillman (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) came off the bench to lead the Bishops in scoring with 11 points, while freshman Ethan Stanislawski (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Third-seeded Wabash captured a tightly contested 87-76 quarterfinal victory over sixth-seeded Hiram (12-14). The Little Giants took a four-point lead into the locker room at the half, before outscoring the Terriers 46-39 in the second half to advance into the semifinal round. The two teams each netted 36 points in the paint, while Hiram pulled down 44 boards to Wabash's 35 and saw their bench players outscore the Little Giants' reserves, 14-12. Wabash sophomore Jack Davidson (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) led all scorers with an NCAC tournament-high 47 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and one steal, while junior Harrison Hallstrom (Naperville, Ill./Naperville Central) also gathered six boards and netted 12 points. Freshman Brodgie Gordon ((DeLand, Fla./DeLand) recorded a team-high 24 points for Hiram and grabbed eight rebounds, dished two assists and earned two steals, while senior Marcel Rice (Euclid, Ohio/Brush) just missed out on a double-double after tallying 17 points and nine rebounds, while blocking three shots and adding a helper.
Fourth-seeded DePauw claimed a 66-62 victory over fifth-seed Oberlin (13-13), to advance to the semifinals of the NCAC Tournament for the 23rd year in a row. The game had eight ties and four lead changes, while the Tigers controlled the first half leading 45-32, Oberlin outscored DePauw 30-21 in the final half. The Tigers claimed an advantage in bench points, 42-5, points in the paint, 34-26, and rebounds, 29-25, while the Yeomen led with more precise shooting with a 46.2 field-goal percentage and a 44.4 three-point percentage. DePauw had five players score in double figures led by sophomore Nick Felke (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) and sophomore Caymn Lutz (Cicero, Ind./Hamilton Heights) who each netted 13 points, while sophomore Aaron Shank (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) pulled in a team-high seven rebounds to go along with 11 points. Four Oberlin players recorded double-digit points with junior Christian Fioretti (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton) tallying a game-high 18 points, to go along with five rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block, while senior Eli Silverman-Lloyd (Culver City Calif./Windward) netted 15 points, gathered five rebounds, earned two steals and dished one assist.
SEEDINGS & PAIRINGS:
Wooster (16-2) has earned the top seed in the 2019 NCAC Men's Basketball Tournament, which begins with quarterfinal games at campus sites on Tuesday evening. The seeding follows the regular-season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The tie between Wabash (14-4) and Wittenberg (14-4) for second-place and the tie between Hiram (9-9) and Oberlin (9-9) for fifth-place were both broken via the conference tiebreaker system for seeding purposes only.
While the Fighting Scots lead all NCAC men's squads with 18 titles all-time, Wittenberg is second all-time with 12 total titles. Ohio Wesleyan has won seven conference championships, while Allegheny is the only other team to have won a conference championship with four all-time. The Battling Bishops and Gators shared the title in both 1988 and 1986, while Allegheny also shared the crown with Wooster in 1989 and Wittenberg in 1993.
Quarterfinal games will all be played on Tuesday, February 19, with top-seeded Wooster hosting eighth-seeded Allegheny (6-12) at 7:00 p.m. and second-seeded Wittenberg playing host to seventh-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (7-11) at 6:00 p.m. In the other quarterfinal matchups, third-seeded Wabash hosts sixth-seeded Hiram at 7:00 p.m., while fourth-seeded DePauw (10-8) entertains fifth-seeded Oberlin at 6:00 p.m. The quarterfinal games at DePauw and Wittenberg will be part of a doubleheader with the women, who will follow the men with 8:00 p.m. starts.
Tuesday's winners will advance to the semifinals and championship on Friday, February 22, and Saturday, February 23, at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinal round. Semifinal games will be held on Friday with the host institution selecting its preferred time slot. The championship game is set for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Please note, in low capacity gyms with less than 2,000 seats (OBE & WAB), the semifinal games will be played at 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with the host institution choosing their preferred time slot. In this scenario, the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for both contests. In high capacity gyms with more than 2,000 seats (DPU, WIT & WOO), the semifinal games will be played at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with the host institution choosing their preferred time slot. In this scenario, one ticket will be valid for both contests.
In the event that one institution hosts both the men's and women's "final four," the women's semifinals will be played on Thursday, February 21, and the men's semifinals will be played on Friday. The championship games would then be played on Saturday with the women playing at 3:00 p.m. and the men at 7:00 p.m. In this scenario, the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for each contest.
This year's tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 1st and 2nd.
TOURNEY NOTES: Wooster has won seven of the last 12 NCAC Tournaments, with only Wittenberg, Denison, Ohio Wesleyan and DePauw interrupting that string. The Fighting Scots will take a shot at sweeping the regular-season and tournament titles for the first time since the 2013-14 season ... The Wittenberg Tigers won their seventh tournament title overall last winter with an 82-70 win over Ohio Wesleyan in Springfield, Ohio ... As the third seed, Wabash has now qualified for the tournament every year since joining the NCAC in the 1999-00 academic year. The Little Giants made back-to-back championship game appearances in 2008 and '09, falling to OWU in '08, 89-72, and dropping an 84-72 decision against Wooster the next year ... DePauw, which won the tourney title in 2015 with a 69-56 win over OWU, returns to the field for the third year in a row and the seventh time in the last eight years ... Fifth-seeded Oberlin returns to the tournament this winter looking for its first win in the eight-team tournament since knocking off Allegheny by an 88-73 margin in the opening round in 1992 ... Sixth-seeded Hiram will look for their second quarterfinal win since 2016 ... Ohio Wesleyan enters as the seventh seed and will look to advance to the semifinal round for the tenth-consecutive season ... Allegheny, which reached double-digit wins for the first time since 2014-15, will be making its first appearance in the tournament in four years ... Wooster leads all men's teams with an .795 winning percentage (70-18) in tournament games. Wittenberg follows at .686 (48-22), while Ohio Wesleyan is next at .545 (36-30). Allegheny at .500 (24-24) is the only other men's team at or above the .500 mark in tournament play.