By: Cam Chambers
Highlighted by a 28 point performance by senior big man Scott Masin, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team stayed perfect in the NCAC, and improved their overall record to six wins and one loss.
Last Saturday, the Tigers beat the Gators of Allegheny 86-58. Wittenberg never gave up the lead, and went wire-to-wire for the victory.
Wittenberg, who is currently ranked 16th in the nation, has been rising through the ranks quickly, originally unranked in the preseason, then climbing to 21, and now their current position just outside of the top ten.
For the Tigers, it was a team effort. Four players scored in double figures, including Masin with 28, Zack Leahy with 13. Steven Newell continued his hot shooting from behind the arc, providing 12 points, including four triples, and freshman Shane Edwards came off the bench to chip in 10.
Newell, the senior point guard, attributes this increase in offensive productivity to the increasing chemistry and teamwork the Tigers have created.
“We’ve been executing on offense. Everybody is playing really well right now, and we know our roles I think,” Newell said Saturday after the game. “I really think we’re coming together as a team. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s keep this going.”
Offensively, Wittenberg looked sharp once again, shooting a hot 52 percent from the field, 38 percent from beyond the line, a much improved 80 percent from the free throw line, and increased their scoring average per game to 76.
The offensive dominance was in large part due to out rebounding the Gators 41-19, this led to Wittenberg scoring 54 points in the paint, and adding 23 second chance points. Rebounding seemed to be a big point of emphasis, with everybody contributing to the cause. Five Tigers registered at least three rebounds. Masin led the Tigers with nine boards, Cole Bond had seven, Leahy had five, followed by three from Sam Collins and Newell.
Leahy has also been a standout for the Tigers, contributing in many ways. He is averaging around 12 points per game, three rebounds, and leading the team with 4.3 assists.
Defensively, Wittenberg had another strong outing. The Tigers held the Gators to 46 percent shooting from the field. They also forced 13 turnovers.
Production off the bench also has been beneficial to the Tigers. Cody Philippi, Justin McDowell, Brock Kiesler, Alex Fultz, and Shane Edwards have provided crucial minutes in spelling the starters.