The men’s basketball team returned home after a rough loss on the road to the College of Wooster, ending their winning streak and rendering them 14-1 on the season. Wednesday night, the Tigers faced off against the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University, where they were victorious 71-64. The red and white followed it up on Saturday afternoon, when they played Oberlin College and came out 63-51 capturing win 1,800 in all of program history.
On Wednesday, Jan. 22, the Tigers and the Bishops went back and forth for the lead. At 12:23 in the first half Brice Hill (’23) made a three-point shot that allowing the Tigers to snag the lead and run with it. Ridge Young (’21), Levi Boettcher (’22), Jordan Pumroy (’20) and Rashaad Ali-Shakir (’20) kept knocking back shots and kept the Bishops at bay. 2:49 left in the first half, Boettcher went up in the paint and dunked the ball sending a surge of Tiger pride through the packed Pam Evans Smith Arena. Then right before halftime, Young had a layup that cinched the Tiger lead 39-28.
In an interview with Wittenberg Athletics before the game, head coach Matt Croci said that “Ohio Wesleyan is a good team and they have a lot of talented players.”
Ohio Wesleyan is “the most prolific three-point shooting team in our league,” Croci said. In order to keep the Battling Bishops from sinking three-point shots the Tigers were going to have to force them inside the three-point line, and they did. OWU shot 29.2% from the three-point line compared to the Tigers being 38.1%.
Tigers held on to their lead in the second half, unwilling to let the Bishops catch up. The Battling Bishops weren’t prepared to give up entirely, so they continued to push back and pushed the Tigers to their limits. The Bishops were all over Seipel in the paint, which forced the Tigers to rely more on Bertemes and James Johnson (’21) both of whom were up for the task.
At the end of the night the Tigers shot 49.1% from the court, were 38.1% from the three-point line and managed 35 rebounds. Bertemes lead in points with 18, Seipel managed 12 rebounds, Pumroy as well as Seipel tied for assists with three apiece.
On Saturday, the Tigers took win number 16 of the season against the Yeomen coming out 63-51. The Tigers and the Yeomen were practically shot for shot in the first half, but at 9:49 Oberlin put up a three-point shot and followed it with free-throws, jumpers and a three. The Tigers struggled to close the gap even with Bertemes, Young and Ali-Shakir putting in work on the court. At the half, the Tigers trailed 30-24 after a free-throw from Young.
Before the game Croci told Wittenberg Athletics that he “expects [Oberlin] to come in and compete.” That they did, keeping the Tigers at bay coming into the second half. The Tigers finally tied the game back up with 9:57 to go after a jump shot from Bertemes.
Once the game was tied, the Tigers were able to find their rhythm and were unstoppable. Each possession brought shots from Seipel, Bertemes, Johnson and Ali-Shakir. With 1:31 remaining in the game, Seipel made the final layup and left the score 63-51.
Seipel lead the stats at the end of the night with 16 points, 10 rebounds and two assists where he tied up with Bertemes. The Tigers shot 42.3% from the court and put up 28 points in the paint.
Coming up the Tigers are hosting DePauw University on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. Then the red and white are hitting the road and will be facing Allegheny on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m.