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Dominating second half leads to Little Giant win over Wittenberg

Jack Davidson led Wabash with 24 points as the Little Giants dominated Wittenberg 101-73 on Saturday.

They were tabbed as the top two teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference coming into the season. Wabash and Wittenberg matched up Saturday afternoon at Chadwick Court for the first time this season and for a half the two basketball powers went blow for blow with one another. Wabash was able to build as much as a 17-point lead in the first half, but the Tigers kept chipping away and a tip-in a the buzzer saw the Little Giant lead at just 42-38. As soon as the second half began, it was all Little Giants as they outscored Wittenberg 59-35 to pull away for a convincing 101-73 victory.

The win marks the second straight game in where coach Kyle Brumett tipped his hat to the play of his defense.

“We’re such a better defensive team than we’ve shown in some of our games so far,” Brumett said. “We have to get our guys to believe on that side of the ball and they did a great of believing this week.”

Wabash on the offensive side of the ball shot 63 percent for the game and 57 percent from three which included 13 made baskets from behind the arc. They had six scorers in double-figures led by Jack Davidson’s game-high 24 points. Kellen Schreiber and Ahmoni Jones each had 16 while Jones added in seven rebounds. Tyler Watson turned in an all-around great performance with 13 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Jesse Hall continued to play well off the bench adding 12 points and seven rebounds and Edreece Redmond also scored 12 in the win.

“I’m really proud of our older guys and being able to share the ball a lot more,” Brumett said. “We had 18 assists on 36 made shots and those older guys like Jack and Tyler are starting to recognize things that have caused some speed bumps for us in the early part of the year. They’re talking about the things that I believe separate good teams from great teams.”

While the Little Giants, who improve to 6-3 (3-1 NCAC), have had some impressive performances this season, Brumett tabbed this one as the best one yet.

“We have been giving up so many points this season and to hold Ohio Wesleyan to under 60 then to hold Wittenberg to only 73 is very impressive,” he said. “I felt like we could’ve only won this game by ten and still be very satisfied with how we played. We wanted to pressure them a ton in the second half and get after them a little bit. All teams struggle with some pressure and I feel like we are starting to change our identity on defense by applying that pressure to make the opposing offense uncomfortable.”

Brumett also took the time after the game to give some praise to Hall and the other role players including Redmond and Vinny Bucilla for the Little Giants who are all starting to really find their roles with the Little Giants this season.

“Jesse Hall is a very special player,” Brumett said of the Crawfordsville High School grad. “His skill-set is unbelievable for a guy who is as big as he is. He’s really been coming along and his ability to shoot and pass the ball gives us some match-ups that we like most nights. Vinny and Adreece have really turned into our spark plug guys on defense. They can pressure the ball and have taken that role and started to own it.”

Wittenberg is the winning-est division three basketball program in the country and has routinely given Wabash fits in the past. For the Little Giants to come out and put up a dominating 28 point win bodes well for their confidence as they move further into the season.

“This is a big win for our program,” Brumett said. “Them and Wooster have been the standard for a longtime now and we have to take some of this stuff from this game and apply it to the rest of our games. We’re going to enjoy this one and it’s a good morale booster for our guys to end the year especially as the get ready for finals. I know that Wittenberg will be ready for us when we go to their place.”

Wabash will travel to Wittenberg on Jan. 26.

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