It wasn’t always easy for Wabash in an 87-76 NCAC opening round tournament win, but Jack Davidson made it look like he was playing a pick-up game in the schoolyard. The sophomore never came out of the game, nailed six 3-pointers, grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists on his way to a new career-high of 47 points.
“Well you know he’s going, but you never know that he’s got 47,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “He’s so efficient. We are still looking for opportunities to get three, four or five guys in double-figures, but when he gets it going it’s really hard to not help him or get him to keep his foot on the gas. Because getting to the foul line allows everything to stop and slow down, and he’s so good there.” Davidson wasn’t perfect from the charity stripe, but knocked down 15-of-16 foul shots. The Little Giants (21-5) were locked in a tight one in the first half, trailing the Terriers (12-14) 19-15 at the 10:51 mark, before going on a 13-2 run to take a 28-21 lead with 7:44 left in the first half on a Davidson field goal. Wabash led 41-37 at the half with Brumett citing struggles on the boards for the slim lead. “We were really bad on the defensive backboards,” he said. “They (Hiram) had 13 offensive rebounds at halftime, 10 second change points. So if you cut that in half you’re up nine and it feels different. There were a bunch of balls that we got our hands on that we didn’t come up with.” Hiram won the rebounding war for the game 44-35, but only had six on the offensive end in the second half. With 20 points already in the first half, Davidson came out in the second 20 minutes and took over the game. Scoring the Little Giants’ first 13 points of the second half in the first 3:05, including four straight 3-pointers, he helped push the lead to 54-45. The Terriers kept the deficit in the 8-10 point range for the next several minutes, powered by Brodgie Gordon’s 13 second half points. The freshman led Hiram with 24 points in the loss. Wabash finally pushed ahead to a comfortable double-digit lead on back-to-back triples from Tri-West product Tyler Watson to make it 69-56 with 9:35 to go. The freshman added 12 points for the Little Giants, while Harrison Halstrom also reached double-figures with 12. Over the final eight minutes, Davidson did what he does best, knocking down free throw after free throw, pushing Wabash ahead by as many as 19 at 81-62. Davidson’s mark of 47 points ranks third all-time in a single game in program history. Charlie Bowerman scored 63 in 1961, and 53 in a game in 1960. He also passes Pete Metzelaars on the list, who scored 45 in the 1982 Division III National Championship game in the Little Giants 83-62 win over Potsdam State. Davidson was a Terrier killer in all three meetings between Wabash and Hiram this season. He scored 29 in the Little Giants 102-61 home win in December, and 37 in the 95-80 win at Hiram earlier this month. The win on Tuesday marks just the fourth time Wabash (13-0) completed a perfect home schedule since 1959-60. The Little Giants were previously undefeated at home in 1959-60, 1996-97, and 1997-98. The Little Giants, seeded No. 3 in the NCAC tourney will now play No. 2 Wittenberg at Wooster on Friday. The winner will play the winner of No. 1 Wooster and No. 4 DePauw in the championship game on Saturday.