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Little Giants survive Tigers in rivalry game, 70-59

Wabash used their rivalry game with DePauw to find another way to win in a 70-59 NCAC victory.

The Little Giants, ranked No 14 in the nation, move to 15-1 on the season and continue their win streak in the league. They stand at 9-0, the best NCAC start for Wabash in school history. They didn’t win the dustup with the Tigers like they have won this season - with waves of 3-point field goals and long scoring streaks. Instead, they had to go 12-of-12 from the free throw line in the last four minutes, pull down a couple big rebounds, and force the Tigers into some bad shots. “We won without being our best,” Little Giants coach Kyle Brumett said. “We are a good 3-point shooting team, but not tonight. We average 19-20 assists a game, but not tonight. What we did was have six guys score nine points or more. We shot our free throws well. We spread the wealth around while not playing our best.” DePauw, who falls to 10-6 overall and 4-5 in the league, had a rough night shooting the ball from anywhere but point-blank range. The Tigers were 3-of-25 from 3-point range, which was also due to a Wabash defense that is ranked eighth in the nation in 3-point defense. The visitors also had a tough night from the line, going only 6-of-12. They were outscored by 16 from the stripe. “We had a couple guys that just didn’t have it,’ Brumett said. “We had other guys step up and cover them, which is what builds a good team.” Colten Garland was one of those step-up guys, with 11 points and three boards. He was a plus-19 on the stat chart. “Garland was plus-19,” Brumett said. “(Tyler) Watson was plus-17, (Harrison) Hallstrom was plus-11. Our top two scorers were 20 points under their combined average, and we found a way to win by 11. That says something about this team.” Watson, the freshman from Tri-West, was co-team high with 14 points. The freshman hit eight free throws in the last two minutes and finished 10-of-10 for the game. Hallstrom had the other 14-point night, going 5-of-6 from the floor. Leading scorer Jack Davidson, who missed last Saturday’s game due to illness, played only 19 minutes and finished with 10 points. For the game, the Little Giants were 42-percent from the floor and hit only six treys in 18 shots. After missing their first three free throws, they went 22-of-25. The Tigers were led in scoring by Andrew Kus. The only senior on the DePauw roster had a season-best 13, well over double his season average. Nolan Ginther added 11, as the Tigers were 40 percent from the floor. They trailed the rebound tally 41-31. The game was a slow starter, with both teams having issues making buckets. It was only 16-15 DePauw midway through the first half, and the Little Giants led 34-33 at the half. The Tigers led for the most of the first 10 minutes of the second half, by as many as three. A Garland three at 10:14 made it 48-45 and Wabash never trailed again, although DePauw was never far away. The Little Giants scored the last six points of the game from the line in the last half-minute to get their first double-digit lead. “We weathered DePauw well,” Brumett said. “A year ago, we might have continued to shoot quick or lack depth to do the right thing. You have to be able to adjust, to the atmosphere, to the officiating, to whatever. DePauw is missing their best player and they forced us into some turnovers. We made adjustments. We want to drive the ball and force defenses to move. It got us to the line tonight, but not until we made those adjustments.” The Little Giants are back in action Saturday when they travel to take on Oberlin. They are back on Mac Petty Floor next Wednesday against Ohio Wesleyan.

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