Nate Axelrod had it all working Wednesday, doing a little bit of everything — including hitting a pair of game-winning free throws with one second left — to help the Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team secure its 11th straight win and at least a share of the NCAC championship with a 72-70 win over host Wittenberg.
The Bishops (18-6, 15-2) trailed by four with 2:12 left before Axelrod answered a Jaelin Williams three-pointer with a triple of his own to make it a 67-66 game with 2:02 left.
Axelrod came up with a steal on the ensuing possession, turning it into a layup to give OWU a lead with 1:30 left, then assisted on a Ben Simpson three-pointer to give his team a 70-67 lead with 42 seconds left.
The Tigers (17-7, 11-6) clawed back to even when Cody Phillippi split a pair from the charity stripe with six ticks to go, but Axelrod drew a foul with one second left before calmly sinking the ensuing free throws to seal the deal.
The Bishops weren’t connecting from deep, making just six of their 26 three-point attempts on the night, but took care of the ball. They turned it over eight times — miscues that led to just seven Wittenberg points. OWU, meanwhile, forced 15 turnovers which led to 23 critical points.
Simpson paced the Bishops with 20 points, three rebounds and four assists while Axelrod finished with 16 points and a team-best seven assists. Olentangy Orange grad Grant Gossard also had a nice game, chipping in 10 points to go with four boards.
Connor Seipel led Wittenberg with 17 points and seven rebounds in the setback.
Ohio Wesleyan dominated the overtime period, outscoring visiting Wittenberg 12-4 to secure a 70-62 NCAC win Wednesday at Branch Rickey Arena.
Taylor Dickson led the Bishops with 24 points and seven rebounds while Claire Sterling added 13 points and eight boards. Megan Kuether was also solid, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and a team-leading seven assists.
Alex Kiess led the Tigers with 18 points in the loss.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.