On Wednesday, Jan. 29 the men’s basketball team hosted the opposing Tigers in a NCAC match-up against the DePauw University Tigers. On the heels of win 1,800 the red and white declawed DePauw in a 90-59 win. On Saturday, Feb. 1 Witt hit the road for Meadville, PA where they faced the Gators of Allegheny College. In a nail-biting finish, the Tigers won 77-75 securing win 1,802.
In regards to reaching win 1,800 and being the first team in Division III to do so, head coach Matt Croci told the Tiger Sports Network before their match-up with DePauw that “we knew at some point we were going to get there, it was just a matter of when.”
“It was nice to do it at home,” Croci said, “where our guys could celebrate with their families and our home fans.”
Wittenberg started Wednesday night off on fire, with a layup from Connor Seipel (’20) 20 seconds into the game. That was followed up by back-to-back three-point shots from Jordan Pumroy (’20) and Jake Bertemes (’20). The red and white couldn’t miss a shot. With Witt on a hot streak, DePauw had to push back harder defensively and doubled-up in the post managing to pull ahead 15-14, seven minutes into the half.
Fighting back and forth for the lead and 10:53 remaining Ridge Young (’21) knocked down a three-pointer snagging the lead 20-18. That was followed up by shots from Rashaad Ali-Shakir (’21), Seipel, Landon Martin (’21) and James Johnson (’21) allowing the red and white to manage a 14-point lead and leaving DePauw in the dust. Going into the half, DePauw put up an amazing half-court shot that beat the buzzer and sent the whole crowd into unanimous gasp, but only narrowing the lead to 51-29.
Coming out of the locker room and into the second half, the red and white were no different. Johnson set the tone with a three-pointer that lead to an eruption of cheering from the team bench and the Wittenberg side of the gym. Seipel, Bertemes, Young, Ali-Shakir and Johnson all proceeded to knock down shot after shot.
In the last 10 minutes of play, the Tigers couldn’t find a spot on the three-point arc they didn’t like, with points from Jordan Welch (’21), Levi Boettcher (’22), Young and finally Quinn Starkey (’23). With 15 seconds left in the game, Will Swartz (’22) dribbled the ball until the final buzzer and closing out the red and white’s 90-59 win.
Seipel lead with 15 points against DePauw, Johnson and Harrison Gough (’22) lead in rebounds with five a piece, and Bertemes lead in assists with four.
On Saturday, the Tigers took a close win in Meadville, PA against the Allegheny Gators. The tip-off went to the Gators and they snatched a 2-0 lead early on. But when Bertemes got ahold of the ball and tied up the game at 2-2, evening out the playing field and giving the Tigers a shot. Bertemes wasn’t finished yet, putting up another layup and giving Johnson an opportunity to sink a three-point shot from behind the line.
The Tigers managed a six-point lead before the Gators were able to put up a shot. With 10:49 left to play, the Gators stole the lead, but the Tigers didn’t let them keep it. Pumroy, Martin and Bertemes fought back and forth with the Gators to pull out a 22-20 lead. After that, the Tigers didn’t let the Gators take the lead back and they closed out the half with a four-point lead, 35-31.
The Tigers lead most of the second half, at one point jumping ahead by 10 points, 73-63. But with 52 seconds left in the game, the Gators put up a layup and grabbed the lead. Johnson managed to regain the lead after he sent a layup over and through the hoop. After a timeout for the Tigers, Pumroy pushed the offense, drew a foul and was sent to the free throw line for two. Pumroy managed both shots but the Gators were able to draw a foul and made one of their two frees but managed to fall short and allowed the Tigers to claim their 77-75 victory.
Martin lead in points with 21 of the team’s 77. Johnson lead in rebounds with 16 to himself, followed by Seipel with four assists. The Tigers shot 49.2% from the court and managed 44 points in the paint, which was over half of their total for the night.
Coming up, the Tigers will be hosting the Big Red of Denison University on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. before hitting the road facing the Lords of Kenyon College on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 3 p.m.