Defiance Nets Purple and Gold Tournament Crown with Late Rally
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance College led throughout the majority of the night but needed a furious rally in the closing moments to hold off an explosive Lakeland College squad to secure the Purple and Gold Financial Tournament championship with a thrilling, 88-87, victory.
The Jackets extended their home winning streak against non-league foes to 12-straight triumphs with the win and notched their third-straight Purple and Gold Tournament title. DC has now claimed the championship in 21 of the 37 years of the tourney and upped its all-time mark at the event to 58-16. Along with the three-straight titles, Defiance improved to 7-1 under head coach Kyle Brumett in his four years with the program.
Defiance took the fight to an aggressive Muskie squad in the opening 20 minutes of play, never trailing and opening a 42-28 gap on the way to a 46-34 lead at the half. DC beat Lakeland at its own game, sinking eight-of-10 shots from three-point territory, just one night after LC had tied a tournament record with 16 makes from beyond the arc.
Travis Schomaeker did the majority of that damage, connecting on four triples off the bench and hitting all five of his field goal attempts for 14 points in 10 minutes of work in the opening stanza. Kyle Tietje cleaned up the boards, ending the opening half with 10 rebounds.
The DC cushion grew to 55-40 quickly after the intermission, before Lakeland finally managed to get its All-American candidate, Jake Schwarz, on track. The junior forward's first field goal of the evening ignited a 7-0 spurt from the Muskies that brought the visitors back within striking distance with the first of what ended up being 26 second-half points from Schwarz.
Schwarz would later score 20-of-24 points for Lakeland to nearly single-handedly erase the large Defiance lead. The result of the flurry from Schwarz was an 81-77 lead for the Muskies, which eventually swelled to 85-78 with 2:46 left in the game.
Mason Roth stopped the surge with a pair of layups to settle a stunned Defiance crown, before Logan Wolfrum sent the home fans into a frenzy with a long-distance dagger that knotted the score at 87-87 with 1:13 to play.
Wolfrum would then pull down a defensive rebound with eight seconds showing on the clock, before racing the length of the court and drawing a foul at the hoop with under one second left in the game. The junior sank one free throw to give the Jackets the 88-87 victory on the strength of a 10-2 rally over the final 2:46 of action.
Wolfrum ended with a team-high 24 points for his third-straight showing with at least 20 points, while Tietje set a new career-high with 16 rebounds and added 13 points for his fifth career double-double.
DC's freshman point guard stole the show however, netting a career-high 20 points and dishing out seven assists to pace the Yellow Jacket attack. Roth earned Most Valuable Player honors for the tournament, joining Wolfrum on the Purple and Gold Financial All-Tournament Team.
Tietje was also honored from Defiance, as the senior forward was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Gerry Boomer Sportsmanship Award.
Defiance (4-7, 0-4 HCAC) will look to ride its new momentum into conference play, when it travels to Bluffton on Wednesday, January 4 for the 187th all-time meeting between the rivals on the planks.
Tip is set for 8:00 pm, with the women playing at 6:00 pm. Both games will be provided via free webcast by the Yellow Jacket Sports Network at www.defianceathletics.com/video.