Wabash captured the number-two seed in next week's North Coast Athletic Conference men's basketball tournament with a 76-54 road victory at Oberlin Saturday afternoon, combined with an overtime loss by third-seeded Wooster.
The Little Giants (17-8, 13-5 NCAC) earned the second seed for the third time since joining the NCAC for the 1999-2000 season. Wabash was the number-two seed in the 2000 and 2010 tournaments. The second-place finish in the NCAC regular season standings also marks the first time the Little Giants have finished ahead of national-power Wooster in the final conference standings.
Oberlin (14-11, 8-10 NCAC) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Saturday's game before free throws from Harrison Hallstrom and a layup from Kellen Schreiber put Wabash in front to stay. The Little Giants ran off seven consecutive points with the final basket coming from Tyler Watson with a three-point shot for a 7-3 lead. Wabash eventually took a 23-point lead at the end of the first half and led by as many as 26 points in the final period.
Ahmoni Jones helped push Wabash out to its early first-half lead. The freshman scored 10 points in the first 20 minutes of the game. He connected on 2-of-3 shots from the field with one three-point basket and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Wabash finished the first half 13-of-13 from the free throw line as a team and hit 12-of-25 shot attempts for 48-percent shooting for the half. Watson and Jack Davidson each added nine points for the Little Giants in the opening period.
Wabash cooled in the second half, shooting 10-of-35 from the field to finish 22-of-60 for the game (36.7 percent). The Little Giants were sharp at the free throw line with a 21-of-22 performance for the game for the sixth-best single-game effort in program history at 95.5 percent.
Davidson finished with a team-high 15 points for Wabash. Jones added 13 points and Watson scored 12 points.
Christian Fioretti led Oberlin with a game-high 16 points. Charles Tiedemann added 11 points for the Yeomen.
Wabash will host Denison in the quarterfinal round of the NCAC Tournament. The Big Red earned the number-seven seed in the tournament field. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Chadwick Court. Because the game is an NCAC Tournament game, tickets will need to be purchased at the door for entry to the contest. Tickets for adults are $7 and are $5 for students who do not have an ID from an NCAC institution. Students with an ID will be admitted free of charge.