DELAWARE – The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team leaned on its defense after letting go of a lead it maintained for most of the game.
The Battling Bishops came up with four steals and a pair of blocks on defense and turned it into a 12-0 run to take the lead on their way to a 72-67 win over DePauw Saturday afternoon at Branch Rickey Arena.
Nick Carlson hit a 3-pointer on one end and then came up with a steal on the other to start the go-ahead rally with just under 5 minutes left in the game.
“We finally started making some shots, getting some loose balls and defending a little better,” OWU coach Mike DeWitt said. “That’s all it took and we got a nice little run.”
Ethan Stanislawski added a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 59-57.
Gabe Johnson had a pair of steals sandwiched around a Stanislawski block to keep the deficit at two.
“We were just much more active at that point,” DeWitt said.
Then, Carlson fed to Stanislawski for the go-ahead 3 to give the Bishops a 62-59 lead with 2:41 remaining.
“They just came out harder than us in the second half,” Stanislawski said. “They just wanted it more. We kind of do that to ourselves a lot in the second half – dig ourselves that hole. We picked it back up and, thankfully, we were able to get the win.”
Grant Gossard added a dunk and a layup on OWU’s next two possessions before it became a free throw game down the stretch.
Gossard was held scoreless to that point after putting up nine of the team’s first 16 points. Carlson added an old-fashioned 3-point play to push the lead to 19-8 with 11:26 left in the first half.
“Some of that is that he’s not always aggressive when he posts up,” DeWitt said. “I think he passed it out a little too much. Secondly, we didn’t look into him enough. We depended on our 3-point shooting a little too much early in that second half instead of going down (to the post).”
A Stanislawski 3-pointer pushed the lead as high as 16 before the Tigers closed the half 7-2 to cut it to 38-27 at the break.
Cole Jenkins knocked down a couple of 3s and Matthew Godfrey hit a third to pace DePauw’s 21-6 run. Jenkins’ second triple put the Tigers ahead for the first time at 48-47 with 12:14 remaining.
“The whole emphasis at halftime was to be ready to come out of the locker room in the second half,” DeWitt said. “We know DePauw is a good team. The same thing happened over there when we played them. It’s very disappointing that we weren’t able to respond when we knew it was coming.”
A Johnson 3-pointer tied it 52-52 with 8:20 left, but Jenkins answered with one of his own to start a 7-0 Tiger rally that led up to the final sequence.
Stanislawski scored a game-high 23 points and Gossard and Carlson added 15 apiece to lead the Bishops. Gossard pulled down 11 rebounds and had four blocks, Jaret Gerber had five assists and Johnson had three steals to lead the Bishops (12-11, 7-9).
“Grant Gossard was good – he got another double-double,” DeWitt said. “I thought Ethan and Nick Carlson made a couple of big shots.”
Nolan Ginther led the Tigers with 22 points and eight boards. Jenkins added 11 points, Felke also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists to lead the Tigers (15-8, 9-7).
The Battling Bishops couldn’t overcome an early 11-2 run and a strong second half by visiting DePauw and fell 85-55 in NCAC action Saturday afternoon at Branch Rickey Arena
Claire Keefe and Maya Howard scored four points each before Maeve Summerville capped the early rally with a 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 19-9 lead with 1:28 left in the first.
“The inconsistency just gets us,” OWU coach Stacey Ungashick Lobdell said. “The bottom line is it’s the end of the season and it’s a hard time to play if you’re still trying to find your consistency.”
DePauw led by as many as 14 in the first half before blowing it open with an 18-7 third quarter and rolled from there, clinching at least a share of the league title with the win.
Sydney Kopp poured in 23 points; Keefe added 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks; Howard finished with 15 points and seven assists; and Mya Shannon chipped in 11 points to lead the Tigers (19-4, 13-1).
DePauw put on a dominating display on the boards, winning the rebound battle 45-16 and scoring 20 second-chance points. Four players finished six or more rebounds, including Kopp, Campbell Montgomery and Sadie Jurkovic – who had six apiece.
“They run their system and they’re consistent,” Ungashick Lobdell said. “(DePauw coach) Kris Huffman does a great job, obviously. But they really know, this time of year, how to turn it up.”
Cierra Joiner had 15 points, eight rebounds and a couple of steals; Erin Delaney added 12 points; Leah Maniaci chipped in nine points; and Claire Sterling had eight points and three assists to lead the Bishops (10-13, 5-9).
“I’m proud of our two seniors who have fought this whole way,” Ungashick Lobdell said. “We’ve had a lot of people really, really improve and get better. So, at the end of the day – I really love this team and I’m proud of their effort every day.”
Next up, both the men’s and women’s teams travel to Gambier to take on Kenyon Wednesday night in NCAC action. The women’s game will start at 6 p.m. and the men’s game will follow at approximately 8 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.