Wabash held DePauw without a basket to open the first 6:30 of the second half to take a lead it would never relinquish in a 77-75 victory in North Coast Athletic Conference action in Greencastle Wednesday evening.
The Little Giants (8-8, 4-5 NCAC) won at DePauw for the first time since a 65-63 win against the Tigers (7-9, 3-6 NCAC) in2012. The victory also marked the 50th for head coach Kyle Brumett at Wabash.
Wabash led 17-16 midway through the first half before the Tigers mounted a scoring run to take a 27-22 lead. DePauw pushed its advantage to 37-26 with 4:06 remaining in the half. Alex Eberhardstarted a 13-4 run for Wabash to cut the lead to 41-39 at the break. The Little Giants trimmed the double-digit lead to two points thanks, in part, to three-pointers from Connor Rotterman and Jack Davidson in the closing minutes of the half. Davidson added a pair of late free throws to lead Wabash with 10 points heading into the locker room.
The Little Giants came out strong at both ends of the floor to open the second half. Eberhard scored to begin the half and hit a free throw to move Wabash in front 42-41. Parker Manges added a pair of free throws, then followed with a jumper and a three-pointer over the next two minutes. Harrison Hallstrom picked up a 15-foot jumper to put the Little Giants up 51-42 for their largest lead of the game.
Riley Doody ended the DePauw drought from the field with layup with 13:24 left to play. The Tigers drew to within two points before Colten Garland nailed a three-point to put Wabash up 56-51.
The Little Giants went the next four minutes without a basket. Wabash used its free throw shooting efforts to maintain its lead, connecting on 7 of 8 attempts to go back in front 63-60 on charity toss from Davidson after DePauw had tied the score at 60-60. Hallstrom pushed the advantage to four points with a layup with 6:04 left in the game.
The Tigers once again cut the lead to one point with a basket by Jack VandeMerkt, 67-66. Eberhard returned to the Wabash lineup after sitting for eight minutes and gave the Little Giants a quick basket with a jumper from the left baseline for a 69-66 lead at 2:19. Another Hallstrom layup with 1:39 on the game clock made it 71-66.
DePauw refused to go away. Josh Hall canned a three-pointer on the ensuing Tigers possession to cut the lead to two points. A heartbeat before Garland hit a three-point shot that could have been the deciding shot of the game, Eberhard drew a foul under the basket and scored two free throws for a 73-69 Wabash edge. Hall answered again for DePauw with another three with less than a minute remaining to keep the Tigers within a point.
Garland provided the final basket of the game for Wabash with 23 seconds left on the game clock to put Wabash up 75-72. Davidson added two more free throws with six seconds. DePauw scored a final three-pointer two seconds later, then fouled with 1.4 showing on the game clock. The Little Giants missed the final two free throws, but the Tigers could not put up a desperation shot ahead of the buzzer, sending Wabash back to Crawfordsville with the two-point win.
Wabash finished 24-of-55 from the field and hit 9-of-17 three-point attempts. The Little Giants were solid from the free throw stripe, hitting their first 11 attempts before finishing 20-of-23 for the game.
Davidson finished with a team-high 18 points for Wabash. Hallstrom scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to record his team-leading fifth double-double of the season. Eberhard chipped in 11 points while Garland and Manges each finished with 10 points as all five starters scored in double figures for the Little Giants.
Garland moved into a tie with Derek Bailey for ninth on the all-time three-point basket list at Wabash with 108.
Hall led DePauw with 18 points. Doody added 12 points and VandeMerkt chipped in 11 as the only other Tiger to reach double figures in points.
Wabash returns to Chadwick Court Saturday to begin the second half of the conference schedule against the College of Wooster. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.