Wabash Basketball: Tigers get revenge on Little Giants 94-79
February 7, 2019
GREENCASTLE — A quick start and hot shooting all game spelled defeat for Wabash as they lost a 94-79 NCAC game at DePauw.
Even a 40-point game by Jack Davidson, who became the 27th member of the Wabash 1,000-point club, was not enough.
The Little Giants, ranked No.18 in DIII, found another tough foe on the road as they lost for the third time in the current four-game road swing.
The Tigers, who move to 15-7 overall, improve their league record to 9-6 as they shot 64 percent from the floor and 65 percent from 3-point range. They gave Wabash their first double-figure defeat of the season.
The hot hand was too much for the Little Giants, who fall to 18-4 for the season and 12-3 in the conference.
“We were reactionary all night on defense,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “Our strength all season has been to take away the best part of the other team. We didn’t do that tonight and that falls on me. I didn’t have them ready to do that. DePauw played great, don’t get me wrong, but we just didn’t do enough defensively.”
The Tigers got the first bucket, fell behind by a bucket, and then scored 12 in a row. They never trailed again. They were up 48-32 at the half.
“We had some lineups in that really gave us good spacing,” DePauw coach Bill Fenlon said. “The spacing allowed us to find the open guys, and then we hit a bunch of shots. We made plays for guys and then we hit shots. We were efficient.”
The Little Giants gave it a go at the start of the second half, using a 14-6 run to get back to within eight, but the Tigers started answering two’s with three’s, and the lead was back to double-digits.
“They just kept coming at us,” Brumett said. “When we got it under 10 in the second half, I thought we could get a run going, but it came back to us not playing good enough defense. We scored 79 points on 53 shots. That should be a win every time. We just weren’t real tough.”
Davidson’s 40 is his second 40-point outing of the season, and he becomes the first Little Giant to cross the 1,000-point threshold since Daniel Purvlicis in the 2015-16 season.
The sophomore also was 13-of-13 from the line, extending his current NCAA DIII record of consecutive free throws to 80.
The Wabash captain was not looking at the scoring records.
“It’s cool to make the 1,000 points,” he said, “but that is nothing about the team. We just have to get better. We have to find that confidence that we had earlier and then lock in defensively.”
His coach echoed those thoughts.
“It’s great for Jack,” Brumett said, “and great for our program. He’s a great player who works really hard and we hope this is the first of many accomplishments in his career. But he was voted as a captain and he knows that he has to lead more and better. We have to get better defensively and that is on him and every player.”
The only other Little Giant in double digits was Harrison Halstrom with 17 points. 26-of-53 from the field for a decent 49 percent on the road, but were only 4-of-16 from 3-point range, well below their season average. Alex Eberhard led the rebound effort with five as Wabash was out-rebounded 25-23.
The Tigers got career-best scoring efforts from two players.
Nick Felke had 27, going 11-of-13 from the floor. Cole Jenkins came off the bench to add a career-best 20. Aaron Shank also came off the bench to score 13, also a career-high.
For the contest, DePauw was 33-of-52 from the floor and 11-of-17 from long range. On the season, they had been shooting 46 percent from the floor and 36 percent from long range.
“Jack (Davidson) was the only thing we could count on offensively,” Brumett said. We got one-dimensional, and then when the other dimensions were all shooting low percentages, it didn’t go well. Every team has a plan, has a good coach, and players that can get the job done. If we don’t do our jobs defensively, then we start looking at uphill battles. What we have to do now is face the most important game, which is the next game.”
The Little Giants are back at home Saturday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tipoff against Kenyon. The 1996-97 and the 97-98 teams will be honored. They were the last two Wabash teams to make the NCAA tournament. An alumni game will start at 11 a.m. on Mac Petty Floor at Chadwick Court.