GAMBIER, Ohio—After trailing by two at halftime, the #17 Wittenberg Tigers returned to form in the second half, downing the Lords of Kenyon College 87-67. The Tigers, who broke into the NCAA's Top-25 for the first time in six years earlier in the week, moved to 12-0 (5-0) on the year, while Kenyon heads the other direction at 4-8 (1-4). Head Coach Matt Croci's old-squad proved to be no match for his Tigers in the second half, as Wittenberg shot nearly 58% from the floor in the final 20 minutes to pull away from the Lords. Freshman James Johnson continued to impress coming off the bench for Wittenberg, pouring in 21 points. Jacob Bertemes aided Johnson's efforts with a career high 17 points.
HOW IT HAPPENED: The Tigers trailed Keyon 38-36 at the break, as the Lords came ready to host the #17 team in the land, shooting a blistering 63% from the floor in the opening half. Wittenberg trailed by as many as six in the first 20 minutes, as the Tigers were held to only 25 field goals attempts in the half. Out of the locker-room in the final 20 minutes of play, Wittenberg came out swinging, but the Lords matched the Tigers as the NCAC bout was tied at 40-40, 44-44, and 46-46 in the early minutes. Wittenberg's lead grew to five with 11:26 remaining, and then to ten at 67-57 with 9:46 remaining. The Tigers lead continued to grow, as Kenyon went ice-cold, going scoreless for over six minutes of play. By the time Kenyon scored again, Wittenberg was already up 74-59 with 6:26 left in regulation. Kenyon tallied only 10 points in the remainder of the contest and 29 for the half, as Wittenberg utilized a 51 point second half to win 87-67.
WHO STOOD OUT: Johnson (21), Bertemes (17), Roy (13), Balser (12) and Seipel (10) stood as the Tiger's double-digit scorers on the night. Roy chipped in 11 boards to record his fourth double-double of the season. Jordan Pumroy continued to out-hustle the opposition as the sophomore guard racked up eight boards, three assists and three steals on the night. Johsnon continued to space the floor for Wittenberg, as the big-fella connected on five of nine attempts from three-point land in the road-win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Outside of hanging 51 points on Kenyon in the second half, Wittenberg forced the Lords into 16 turnovers in the contest, collecting 24 points off the lost possessions. Wittenberg dominated the low block on the road, outscoring the Lords 46-22 in the paint. In the assist department, 15 of the Tiger's 34 field goals came off dimes, while the Tiger bench also supplemented the starters scoring efforts, tallying 31 points in the win. In a game that featured 10 ties and six lead changes, Wittenberg's hot shooting down the stretch eased the red and white to a 20-point road-win.
UP NEXT: Wittenberg is back in action at home against the Hiram Terries on Saturday, January 8 at 3:00 PM.