ATLANTA, GA – The Wabash College Little Giants coming off a thrilling NCAC conference championship made the 500+ mile journey to Atlanta as they competed in the NCAA Division III Tournament against Berry College (23-2) at Emory University.
Wabash came into the game with a 24-3 record and was riding a school record 20 straight wins. However Berry didn’t back down from the high-octane Little Giants and even controlled the first seven minutes of the game leading 17-7. Wabash as they have all season continued to fight back and outscored Berry 22-11 over the final seven minutes to take a 43-37 lead into halftime and would ultimately hold on for a 91-79 win to move on to the round of 32.
The dynamic backcourt of Jack Davidson and Tyler Watson was on fire all game long as Davidson scored a game-high 34 points while Watson added 29 in the win. Kellen Schreiber also added 14 points and all three seniors grabbed seven rebounds for Wabash in the win.
“We have arguably the best backcourt in the nation,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “You hear it at every level that guard play in the tournament is so important. I think both teams were a little nervous early on and they established their big guy down low more than we could get into our offense and they punched us in the mouth a little bit but give our guys credit for responding.”
A grind it out game is something that the Little Giants had to do against Wooster in order to bring home the NCAC Title. Brumett noted how the Wooster game helped prepare him and his team for the adversity that they faced early on.
“That game really helped us prepare for this game,” he said. “They have a really athletic wing and a talented big who are similar to Wooster. We didn’t hit as many shots as we normally do, but when the dust settles we still found a way to 90. When you get into tournament basketball and have a team that can score can cover a lot of mistakes.”
With the win Wabash extends its school record to 21 straight wins and improves to a stellar 25-3 on the season. Wabash will play host Emory this evening who defeated Averett in the other opening round game on Friday.
The Little Giants earlier this season defeated the Eagles in the Great Lakes Invitational on Nov. 30 98-90.
“They are a really good team with an All-American on their team and he was the best player we played all year,” Brumett said of the re-match with the Eagles. “We both had a hard fought game on Friday. It will be a challenge, but I hope our depth and pace will give us a chance to for another high scoring game. We’ll see how it goes.”
Wabash and Emory will tip off for a berth in the round of 16 this evening at 7:10