SPRINGFIELD, Ohio-- #3 Wittenberg men's basketball continued to roll on Wednesday night, as the Tigers moved to 20-0 (13-0) on the year with a 78-63 win over Kenyon. The Tigers managed to overcome a slow start offensively with tenacious defensive effort. In the first meeting between the Lords and the Tigers, Wittenberg forced Kenyon into 20 turnovers. On Wednesday night, that grand total climbed to 32 between the two Tiger wins. Mitchell Balser continued his hot-streak for the Tigers, pouring in 21 points, as the Tiger's point guard has now put together consecutive games of 17, 23, 12 and 21 points. After sweeping the season series from Kenyon, the Lords stand at 6-14 (3-10) on the year.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Wittenberg saw good looks at the basket early on, but with nothing falling for the Tigers, Kenyon managed to jump out to a 13-5 lead in the early going. Chad Roy would help the Tigers tie, and take the lead with two made free-throws with 9:40 remaining in the first half, as the score then favored Wittenberg 18-17. The game would then be tied again at 21-21 before Wittenberg grew their lead to 34-23 after a Jordan Pumroy triple from the top of the key. Kenyon would not go away, as the Tigers took a 38-34 lead into the locker room at the half. Wittenberg came out swinging in the second half of action, taking a 48-34 lead with 17:41 remaining after Balser connected on one of his four three-pointers of the game. With 14:00 remaining in the game, Balser drew contact on a jumper at the free-throw line, fighting through the contact the junior got the shot to fall and converted the free-throw to give the Tigers a 57-38 lead. Kenyon cut the lead to as little as 12 down the stretch, as the Tigers sealed the deal for their 20th consecutive victory at 78-63.
WHO STOOD OUT: With Balser commanding the offense and scoring at will, the Tiger's offensive efforts were aided with 17 points from Roy and a nine-rebound performance from Connor Seipel. Landon Martin was aggressive all night driving to the cup, as the freshman recorded nine points off the bench for the Tigers before fouling out in the waning minutes of Wednesday's win. Despite going three of seven from the field for an eight-point night, sophomore Jacob Bertemes managed to get his teammates involved, dishing out four assists in the win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Wittenberg's relentlessness on defense paid off, as Kenyon's hot start was stifled for the second time on the year, shooting just 32% from the field as a team. Kenyon managed to keep up with the Tigers on the glass, as both teams pulled in 37 boards. Kenyon edged the Tigers on the offensive glass nine to five, and 13 to seven in second chance points. Leading by as many as 19 thanks to a 20-4 run, Wittenberg tallied 36 of their 78 points in the paint and shot nearly 50% from the field in the win.
UP NEXT: The #3 team in the country hits the road on Saturday, as Wittenberg travels to Oberlin for a 3:00 P.M. tip.