Wabash sophomore guard Jack Davidson scored 47 points to send the Little Giants into Friday evening's semifinal game of the 2019 North Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Tournament. Wabash advanced with an 87-76 win over Hiram College Tuesday evening in the quarterfinal to improve to 21-5 overall and 13-0 at home for the season.
Davidson's 47 points are the third-most ever scored in a single game by a Wabash player. Charlie Bowerman '61 scored 63 points against the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1961 to set the all-time single-game record for the Little Giants. Bowerman also scored 53 points in a five-overtime game against Butler University in 1960.
Both Wabash and Hiram (12-14) traded baskets for the first four minutes of the game with Harrison Hallstrom providing much of the scoring punch for the Little Giants with six of his 12 points coming in the first three minutes. The visiting Terriers used an 8-0 run to take a 19-13 lead with 10:51 left to play in the opening period. Davidson sparked a rally for the Little Giants scoring on a driving layup before adding a pair of free throws. Alex Eberhard scored on a field goal in the lane with 9:44 remaining in the first half to tie the game at 19-19.
Wabash continued its scoring run, capping an 11-0 effort with a Davidson three-point basket to move in front 24-19. Hiram eventually drew as close as two points in the first half at 35-33 on a Christian Crespo jumper with three minutes remaining in the opening period. Hallstrom answered for Wabash with another two points, followed by two more Davidson points on the way to a 20-point first half. Once again Hiram cut the lead to two points with under a minute to play thanks to a driving layup by Marcel Rice, who finished with 17 points for the Terriers. Kellen Schreiber sent Wabash to the locker room with a 41-37 lead with a pair of free throws in the final 42 seconds of the period.
Davidson started the second-half scoring for Wabash by hitting one of two free throws after Hiram was assessed a technical foul. The sophomore sharp-shooter added a three-point basket six seconds later to push Wabash in front by eight points. Brodgie Gordon and Davidson began trading baskets, with Gordon trimming the Little Giants' advantage to four points at 48-44 two minutes into the final period. Gordon led Hiram in scoring with 24 points. Davidson responded with back-to-back three-point baskets to extend the Wabash lead to 54-45.
Gordon brought Hiram back to within five points at 58-53 before Jayden Edwards scored a three-pointer for Wabash with 12:55 remaining in the game. With the Little Giants still holding the lead at 63-56 a few minutes later, Tyler Watson canned a key three-point jumper to provide a double-digit lead for Wabash with 9:53 left to play. Watson scored on another long-range jumper to push the advantage to 13 points. The Little Giants would not allow Hiram to get any closer until a final layup in the final 16 seconds ended the contest with the 11-point victory for the Little Giants.
Davidson finished 13-of-23 from the field overall and 6-of-11 from three-point range. He scored 27 points in the final 20 minutes of the game, shooting 7-of-11 in the second half while hitting 4-of-6 three-point tries. Wabash finished 30-of-61 overall from the field for 49.2 percent shooting and connected on 10-of-22 three-point attempts. Watson added 12 points in addition to the 12 from Hallstrom. Hiram shot 27-of-70 from the field but was held to 3-of-20 from outside the three-point arc (15 percent).
The 13-0 home record for the Little Giants marks the fourth time since the 1959-1960 team finished 8-0 at home that a Wabash basketball team has gone undefeated in home contests. The 1996-1997 team ended its season with a 13-0 mark at Chadwick Court with the 1997-1998 team going 14-0 for a 27-0 record over the course of two seasons. Wabash will play at Wooster for the remainder of the NCAC Tournament but could possibly return home should the Little Giants earn a berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament.
Wabash, the third seed in the NCAC tourney and the 25th-ranked team in the nation according to the latest D3hoops.com poll, will play second-seeded and 22nd-ranked Wittenberg Friday evening, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Timken Gymnasium on the campus of the College of Wooster. The Tigers knocked off Ohio Wesleyan 73-51 in their quarterfinal game earlier tonight. The top-seeded Scots will play fourth-seed DePauw University in the first game Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.