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Little Giants comeback falls short in home opener

Photos Courtesy of Wabash Athletics

Chadwick court was alive and well again Wednesday night as Wabash College hosted Hanover in their home opener. After completing a come from behind win in their season opener Saturday over Centre College, the Little Giants played behind for most of the game. They trimmed what was a 14-point deficit to just as little as three points, but Hanover would hold on to spoil the Little Giants home opener with an 83-81 win.

“They (Hanover) did a great job of staying in the moment tonight,” Little Giant coach Kyle Brumett said. “I thought our pace of the game would wear on them a bit more than it did. Too early in the game we put so much pressure on every single play because we were down so much.”

Wabash had plenty of open shots throughout much of the night, but unfortunately couldn’t knock them down. Wabash shot 8-27 from three, but did shoot 48 percent from the field in the game.

Senior Jack Davidson led all scorers in the game with 33 points and a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line. Tyler Watson added in 18, and Kellen Schreiber scored 12.

Defensively the Little Giants just weren’t able to get a defensive stop when they needed it down the stretch. Hanover shot 52 percent from the field on the night.

“We really could never get any closer than three or four in those final minutes,” Brumett said. “Defensively we have to play better. I’m disappointed that we gave up 83 tonight. 38 points in the first half is just us playing bad defense. Sometimes that comes from playing bad offense and we weren’t set in transition. That’s a part where we’re really struggling is figuring out that playing good offense will help our defense.”

The first two games of the season for the Little Giants have been decided by a combined six points. In the moment Brumett was upset about the loss, but knew that in the long run, these close, competitive games against good teams will pay off.

“I do think it can help us down the road these close games will help us,” he said. “But it’s frustrating too because we know we can beat these guys. We know that we have to play better than what we have so far.”

Hanover ended with four in double figures with Isaac Hibbard scoring 16, Max Greenamoyer 15, and Jack Wininger and Noah Williams both scored 11.

Another area of concern for Brumett and the Little Giants was the very few amount of assists his team has had so far in the season. Wabash tallied just six assists on 27 made field goals. In their win on Saturday they had just nine on 26 made shots.

“Both of our first two games at the half we’ve had two assists,” he said. “If we start to share the ball better, it will make the game so much easier on Jack and Tyler. Everyone’s scouting report will be to try and stop those two and if other guys start to get involved and make some shots it will take the pressure off of them.”

With a veteran led group like the Little Giants have, they are used to battling through some adversity. Brumett did mention though that sometimes instead of working together as a team to fix their issues, individuals start to try and fix it themselves.

“Doing that doesn’t work in basketball,” Brumett said. “They’ve worked so hard and know that they are good and when things don’t come easy they try to be the hero. Everyone we play against that Jack could go for 30, but if he does that and we don’t play well, they can beat us.”

The schedule for the Little Giants does not get any easier. They will travel to Marietta College to participate in the Great Lakes Invitational. They’ll take on the number three team in the country in division three in host school Marietta Friday, before taking on 13th ranked Emory on Saturday.

“I want these guys to be challenged and that’s what will happen this weekend,” Brumett said. “It’s going to be exciting for us. It will be sold out and Emory is a lot like us, good offensive players who love to play up tempo. We’re going to have to sure up some things on the defensive end a little bit.”

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