|Nate Axelrod led Ohio Wesleyan in scoring and had a key rebound in the closing seconds.
d3photography.com file photo by Larry Radloff
Wittenberg lost for the second time after a 22-0 start, the top-ranked team in the Atlantic lost by 21, a newly minted regionally ranked team lost at home by 18 and a ranking hopeful lost at home after coughing up a 21-point lead in Wednesday's Division III men's basketball action.
Ohio Wesleyan overcame 29.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc and a poor rebounding night to defeat No. 5 Wittenberg, handing the Tigers their second loss in as many games. Witt, which started 22-0, is now 22-2, 15-2 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Seth Clark gave the Battling Bishops (16-8, 11-6 NCAC) a 79-76 lead on a three-point play with three and a half minutes left and Ohio Wesleyan led the rest of the way as Nate Axelrod put the team up by five less than a minute later. He also rebounded a missed 3-point attempt with nine seconds left and hit two free throws to ice the game.
Axelrod led OWU with 22 points, while Clark, Will Orr and Grant Gossard added 14 points apiece.
North Central led 53-32 with 14:59 left in regulation, but Carroll came all the way back and tied the game with eight seconds left as Joel Heesch found Kale Maupin for a 3-pointer to tie the game at 69 at North Central. The Cardinals took a 73-71 lead in the extra session, but Carroll (10-13, 6-8 CCIW) scored the final six points to win 77-73.
Despite the loss, North Central (16-7, 9-5) clinched a spot in the four-team CCIW tournament when Wheaton defeated Carthage 85-77.
Zavon Johnson scored a game-high 25 points and Kashaun Barnes added 24 as Stockton rolled past New Jersey City 87-66. NJCU entered the day as the top-ranked team in the NCAA's Atlantic Region rankings. Even then, the win wasn't enough to get Stockton into the NJAC tournament, as the Ospreys were one of three teams tied for the final two playoff spots and lost the tiebreaker. Ramapo wrapped up the top seed with an 82-75 win vs. Rowan, while TCNJ defeated Rutgers-Newark and is the two seed. NJCU fell to the third seed, with Montclair State 4, Rowan 5 and William Paterson 6.
Wooster defeated Kenyon 81-79, picking up its 20th win for the 22nd year in a row and setting up a first-place showdown on Saturday vs. Wittenberg. Kenyon hasn't beaten Wooster since 1995. Hiram was the previous team to beat Wittenberg, and at 14-9, surely was only in this week's Great Lakes regional ranking based on that one win. That was Senior Day; this was Wednesday, where Denison rolled past Hiram 78-60. Garrett Collier scored a game-high 24 points, while Jack Coulter was 5-for-12 from 3-point range en route to 16 points in the win. Denison improved to 13-11, 9-8 NCAC. Paul Ortiz scored 13 for Hiram (14-10, 10-7).
St. Mary's (Md.) cut the lead of York (Pa.) from 11 points to three in the span of 44 seconds, but couldn't get any closer as the No. 8 Spartans held on for an 81-78 win. Dalton Myers scored a game-high 34, including four free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Spartans (21-3, 14-3 CAC) survive.
Carleton beat crosstown rival St. Olaf, dealing a blow to the Oles' hopes at an at-large bid to the tournament with a 69-58 loss. Kent Hanson scored a relatively restrained 18 points for the Knights (14-10, 12-7 MIAC), but Ryan Casperson scored 21 points off the bench, including 9-for-13 shooting from the field.
UW-Platteville and UW-Stevens Point each won to remain in a tie for first place in the WIAC at 11-2 apiece. Sixth-ranked UW-Platteville got 16 from Jake Showalter and the Pioneers shot 10-for-17 from beyond the arc in a 70-66 win vs. UW-Whitewater. UW-Stevens Point kept pace with a 77-70 home win vs. UW-Oshkosh.
Jalen Adams and Tracy Edmond combined for 53 points as Olivet cruised past Hope 70-49 to take over sole possession of first place in the MIAA. The Comets improved to 15-9, 10-3, while Hope fell to 15-9, 9-4. Olivet clinched home court advantage for the MIAA tournament. Preston Granger had his first career double-double for Hope, posting 16 points and 12 rebounds for a team which shot 1-for-17 from 3-point range.
Randolph-Macon recorded 19 assists on 22 made baskets and finished its season sweep of Hampden-Sydney with a 67-56 road win vs. its archrival. Luke Neeley scored a team-high 18 points off the bench, as he was one of nine Yellow Jackets who played between 20 and 24 minutes. The Tigers (6-17, 3-11 ODAC) got a game-high 24 points from Malik Crute. Randolph-Macon moved to 17-6, 11-3.
Hilbert won a conference game at Penn State-Behrend for the first time ever as the Hawks defeated the Lions 69-54. Antonio Alvarez led all scorers with 22 points, while Masia Phillips added 16 points and nine rebounds. La Roche leads the AMCC, while Penn State-Behrend fell into a second-place tie with Penn State-Altoona. Hilbert and Medaille are tied for fourth.
Goucher held a four-point lead at halftime, but the Gophers' bid for their first win of the season disappeared in the second half, as Juniata shot 14-for-23 from the floor after halftime to rally for an 82-71 win. Goucher is 0-23, 0-13 in the Landmark, while Juniata improved to 20-4, 9-4.