Jack Clement turned a Wabash turnover into a quick hoop, giving the Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team a 19-17 edge midway through the first half, but the host Little Giants outscored the Bishops 25-11 over the final 10:14 of the half to build a cushion they parlayed into a key 88-74 North Coast Athletic Conference win Wednesday night in Crawfordsville, Ind.
In a battle between two of the top three teams in the NCAC, and the two hottest, first-place Wabash (18-3, 13-1) got off to the better start, taking an early seven-point edge when Jack Davidson drilled a three-pointer to make it a 13-6 game less than four minutes in.
The Bishops (13-9, 10-5), who entered the game third in the conference standings and winners of eight of their last 10, erased the deficit with a 7-0 run capped by a Clement layup, but couldn’t maintain the momentum.
OWU traded blows with Wabash in the second half, scoring 44 points, but couldn’t make up any ground as the hosts poured in 46, including the last six to seal the deal after the Bishops’ Grant Spicer hit a triple to make it an 82-74 game with 1:51 left.
Clement led Ohio Wesleyan with 23 points in the setback. Henry Hinkle wasn’t far behind, adding 17 points while Nick Carlson finished with 10. Spicer was also steady, closing with eight points and seven rebounds.
Davidson, meanwhile, poured in a game-best 35 points for the Little Giants. He was a machine at the free throw line, hitting all 12 of his attempts. He also drilled a game-best five three-pointers and hauled in nine boards.
Tyler Watson and Jesse Hall also finished in double figures in the win, chipping in 16 and 13, respectively.
Wittenberg stared strong and held on late, handing Ohio Wesleyan a 70-61 North Coast Athletic Conference loss Wednesday night in Springfield.
The Bishops (17-5, 10-3), who entered the game in second place in the NCAC standings thanks in large part to a six-game winning streak, found their form in the third quarter. They outscored the Tigers (12-7, 7-4) 24-19 to make it a 48-43 game heading into the fourth, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Kasey Schipfer had a strong game to boost the Bishops, netting 19 points to go with 11 rebounds, both team highs. Lauren Denison was also solid, closing with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Cierra Joiner and Elizabeth Homan had nine and eight points, respectively.
The Tigers had five players with at least nine points. Kristie Kalis had a team-leading 13, Taryn Cash finished with 11, Jade Simpson added 10 and Abigail Yunker and Semie Brar closed with nine apiece.