Wabash College Men's basketball ends their 2022-23 season with an overall record of 21-8 and were the North Coast Athletic Conference champions for a second consecutive season. PHOTO COURTESY OF WABASH COLLEGE ATHLETICS
For the second straight season Wabash College Men’s basketball found themselves playing in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament. After a thrilling 81-80 win over the College of Wooster in the NCAC Title game Wabash traveled to Case Western Reserve University to take on University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks in the round of 64. Unfortunately for the Little Giants the cards were not in their favor as they saw their season come to and end with the Warhawks coming away with a 90-83 win.
In the first half Wabash were the ones with the advantage holding a 28-20 lead before the Warhawks battled to cut the Wabash lead to 33-30 after the first 20 minutes. Then the second half began and the Warhawk offense exploded for 60 points as Wabash’s defense couldn’t hold serve.
“I think out of the gate they weren’t quite ready for us,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “We came ready to play but in the second half when they got on their runs I felt like our guys felt like they just had to score with them, and that’s asking for trouble. Both teams fouled a ton and they were able to extend the lead that way. Every time we made a little run we couldn’t keep them off the foul line.”
The Warhawks ended the game shooting 28-40 (70%) from the foul line. Wabash got to the line and shot it just as well making 27-34 (79.4%) attempts. Miles Barnstable led all scorers in the game scoring all 26 of his points in the second half. Trevon Chislom added 16 for the Warhawks and Jameer Barker scored 15.
Sam Comer led the way for the Little Giants with 19 points while Ahmoni Jones scored 18, Josh Whack 13, and Edreece Redmond rounded out the double-figure scoring with 11. Freshman Gavin Schippert added nine.
Coming into a season where the Little Giants lost the D3 Player of the Year in Jack Davidson along with Tyler Watson and Kellen Schreiber some expected a step back for this group. Instead Wabash continued their winning tradition by winning 21 games including the North Coast Athletic Title for the second straight season. While there is time to celebrate all this group accomplished, Brumett knows the work is never done as every single member of this year’s team will return next season as the Little Giants don’t have a single senior on their roster.
“I’m really proud of this group for all of the work they put in to get here and the results we got this season,” Brumett said. “Even while still being proud of them, our expectations are going to continue to be high next year. There’s a lot out there for us to achieve still. We had a chance to host the conference tournament at our place in the final weeks of the season and didn’t get it done. I think the next step for Wabash College basketball is to try and host an NCAA Tournament game. With all of that being said, we have to embrace what it will take to get there. Because if we don’t then we’ll take a step backwards. With everything we lost this year the best part about this season was I never felt like we were taking a step back, just always moving forward. These guys are a real fun group to be a part of.”
With every single player returning next season, there’s not many reasons to believe why the Little Giants won’t be favored to win the NCAC for a third straight season. If everything goes as it could, the Little Giants might just check off one of those goals for Brumett of hosting an NCAA Tournament game at Chadwick Court.