By Dan Sabol
The Wittenberg Tigers men’s basketball team opened up the season with a disappointing setback to Indiana University East, losing by a score of 92-84. The loss dropped the Tigers to 0-1, and pushed the NAIA member IU-East Red Wolves to 6-1 this season.
The Tigers were attempting to avenge last year’s season opening loss to the Red-Wolves, but the scoring of IU East’s Matt Trimnell was just too much for the Tigers to overcome.
Trimnell scored 36 points on only 15 shots, going 4 of 7 from 3 and 12-14 from the foul line. In a key four minute stretch Trimnell outscored Wittenberg 16-7 by himself to end the first half.
The Tigers controlled the game for most of the first half. With six minutes left in the period, Wittenberg had their biggest lead of the game, 32-26. However, after Trimnell’s scoring spree it was all downhill for the Tigers, and they trailed the Red-Wolves 48-39 at halftime.
In the second half the Tigers trailed by as much as 17 points. However, Wittenberg was able to pull within seven on two separate occasions towards the end of the game.
“Obviously this loss is very disappointing, but we hope that it will help us to address our flaws as a team,” said Wittenberg’s sophomore guard Steven Newell. “We hope to learn from this game and use it to prepare for Capital.”
With a season filled with such high hopes, this certainly was not the result the team had been hoping for; however, IU-East is an NAIA program and thus is able to give scholarships to its players. This is something Wittenberg is unable to do for their athletes, as Wittenberg is a Division III school and athletic scholarships are not permitted.
The team was paced on offense by senior Alex Brand’s 19 points and three assists, and Newell’s 18 points. Junior guard Cam Walton also contributed 15 points and five rebounds, along with senior Clayton Black’s 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Tigers next game is Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in Pam Smith Arena against Capital University. Wittenberg will look to avenge last year’s 80-56 setback to the Crusaders. The Crusaders are 1-0 on the young season, and will certainly prove a stiff test for the Tigers.
(Dan Sabol / firstname.lastname@example.org)