SPRINGFIELD, Ohio— Wittenberg men's basketball improved to 3-0 on Tuesday against Capital, as the Tigers came out on top 79-77. Wittenberg won in dramatic fashion on a full-court baseball pass from Rashadd Ali- Shakir to Jacob Bertemes, who finished the play with a wide-receiver like back shoulder catch, spinning to the game winning left-handed layup as time expired. The Tigers led by ten on halftime, but Capital came roaring back to take the lead in the second, as the game was nothing short of a dog fight down the stretch. Wittenberg observes the holiday before returning to NCAC/OAC Challenge action against Otterbein over the weekend.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Wittenberg took a commanding ten point lead into halftime, as the team then led 48-38 behind nine points from Mitchell Balser and Connor Seipel. Out of the break, Capital went on an 8-0 run to cut the Tiger lead to just two, before eventually taking the lead at 51-50. As the Crusader lead grew to 54-50. Seipel split a pair of Crusader defenders to knot things up at 54-54 with 14:28 remaining in the game. This started a Tiger run that would see the red and white take a 61-56 lead. With under ten minutes to go in regulation, the game was yet again within two for Capital, as the Crusaders then trailed 64-62. Capital would take the lead at 66-64 with 7:43 remaining on a Austin Schreck jumper. Capital took a four point lead before the Tiger came roaring back with 2:12 remaining to take a 75-72 lead after back-to-back buckets from Chad Roy, and two big free throws from Jordan Pumroy. Capital took the lead at 77-76 after Joey Weingartner threw up a prayer as the shot-clock expired, banking in a three from the left elbow. After missing the back end of a one and one, knotting the game up at 77-77, Bertemes put the finishing touches on the game with his heroic last second layup as the clock expired, putting the Tigers on top 79-77 with the full court heave.
WHO STOOD OUT: The Tigers saw four players in double figures on Tuesday; Bertemes (13), Roy (13), Seipel (11), and Balser (11), but it was Roy's double-double that helped propel the Tigers past the Crusaders as the senior post chipped in 11 boards. Landon Martin provided a spark off the bench for the Tigers, dishing out four of the Tiger's 15 assists, while netting eight points on three of eight shooting. Ali-Shakir led the Tigers in the second half with eight points, including two clutch three-pointers when the Tigers needed to build up their lead.
A CLOSER LOOK: Wittenberg out rebounded Capital 31-25, and pulled down six offensive rebounds as Seipel led the Tigers with three big boards on that end of the floor. Both teams shot over 50% on the night, as Capital finished 53.6% from the floor and Wittenberg an even 50%. Wittenberg's perimeter defense cause problems for Capital all night, as the OAC rivals shot three of 17 for a cool 17.6% from behind the arc. Wittenberg's bench also outdid Capital, outscoring the reserves 34-10. Despite turning the ball over one more time than Capital, both teams netted 19 points off of one another's turnovers.
UP NEXT: The Tigers are back in action in the second-part of the NCAC-OAC Challenge, as the red and white make the short trip to Otterbein for a 4:00PM road game from Westerville.