GREENCASTLE — Turnovers led to lost offensive chances for Wabash in a 58-53 North Coast Athletic Conference loss at DePauw Wednesday.
The loss drops the Little Giants to 9-7 on the season and 5-4 in the league, while the Tigers even their season mark at 8-8 and stand at the same 5-4 in the conference.
A 3-point halftime lead by Wabash wasn’t enough, as the visitors could only muster three field goals in the last six minutes. Shooting 42 percent from the floor in the first half, the Little Giants could muster only a 35.5 percent mark in the second.
The poor shooting was not the first thing on the minds of the coaches.
“We got a few pretty good looks that just didn’t fall,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said, “but we had 19 turnovers, 10 in the first half. We told the guys at halftime that we just can’t do that. You can’t give (the other team) the ball without getting a shot.”
The turnovers led to 17 DePauw points.
“The turnovers killed our offense,” Brumett noted. “We did a good job on the glass, but if we have only 10 turnovers, we have at least nine more shots, and even hitting only a couple of those shots makes up the difference. All the turnovers really
kept our assists down too.”
The Little Giants finished with only six helpers.
Wabash did hold a 39-31 rebound advantage, and were plus-nine on second-chance points.
“The inside guys did a good job,” Brumett said, noting a career-high 11 rebounds by freshman Ahmoni Jones. “He (Jones) and Harry Hallstrom (eight boards) tried to give us an advantage somewhere. Our advantage in second-chance points was positive, but we needed to put a couple more in.”
The Little Giants led 31-29 with 17:19 left in the game, but a DePauw 7-0 run put them into a lead they would never surrender.
The game was also a physical battle from start to finish, as only 26 fouls were called. The Little Giants shot no free throws in the second half and were 2-of-2 for the game.
There was not any home-court advantage, though, as the Tigers were only 3-of-6 for the night.
“It was a real grinder tonight, really physical,” DePauw coach Bill Fenlon said. “We had not handled that level of physicality in other games. I was happy to have us handle it tonight.”
The Tigers also made it difficult for Wabash leading scorer Jack Davidson, who was held to a career-low 3 points.
Averaging 19.8 points coming in, Davidson got one 3-pointer in the first half and only one shot attempted in the second.
“We ran a lot of different guys at him (Davidson) Fenlon said of the defensive plan against Davidson, who scored 40 in Neal Fieldhouse last February. “We paid the right amount of attention to him,” he added. “We limited his opportunities, but the biggest thing is that we kept him off the free-throw line.”
“He had a bad game,” Brumett said. “Give DePauw credit for that. “They forced him to pass the ball. He also had no assists, which is equally rare.”
Tyler Watson led the way for Wabash with 12 points, and sophomore was the only Little Giant in double-figures.
Luke Steinhart was the leading scorer for DePauw, as the senior tied his career-high with 18 points, a whopping 14 over his season average. Aaron Shank added 10. The Tigers shot 32 percent from the floor in the first half, and 48 percent in the second.
“We got a couple key stops and hit a couple big baskets,” Fenlon said.
The game Wednesday marks the halfway point of the NCAC season for both teams.
Wabash starts the second half with a home game Saturday against Denison. The Little Giants have six of their nine remaining conference games at home.
“We have to win our home games,” Brumett said. “Saturday we have to build towards getting better.”