SPRINGFIELD, Ohio—#3 Wittenberg advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 91-61 drubbing of the Cougars of Misericordia University. Wittenberg's guards hit shots early and often to silence the MAC-Freedom team. Wittenberg shot nearly 60% from the floor on a night that proved to be Wittenberg's largest NCAA win since a 76-40 win over Lake Erie in 2006. The Tigers now hold a six-game lead over Williams for the most win's in NCAA postseason history. More importantly, Wittenberg advances to play another game for their three seniors, and another game on their home floor, a place where the Tigers have gone 16-0 this season. Wittenberg's next task is WIAC foe, Wisconsin-Oshkosh who slipped past Marietta 74-67 in the front-end of Friday night's twin-bill. The Titans and Cougars have never met on the hardwood, as the Tigers second round matchup I set to kick off tomorrow night at 7:00 P.M.
HOW IT HAPPENED: In the first two minutes of the game on Friday, the Cougars doubled the low post consistently, leaving Jacob Bertemes open to connect on two three-pointers in that time frame. After opening the game on a 10-2 run, Wittenberg allowed the Cougars to claw back into the game, as the Tigers held a 20-16 lead with 12:57 remaining in the first half. Wittenberg began to pull away from this point on, as the home teams' 54-31 halftime lead came at the hands of 34 points from the Tiger's guards. Out of the break, Chad Roy got things going for Wittenberg by scoring or assisting on the first seven points of the half as the Tigers took a 60-33 with 17:50 remaining. With 15:36 remaining James Johnson connected on a three-ball to give the Tigers a 67-37 lead going into a media timeout. Wittenberg hovered around a 30-point lead in the game for most of the second half, as the Tigers reserves logged significant minutes for the red and white in the NCAA contest. Mark Fair put the finishing touches on the night as the sophomore guard recorded an assist from the seat of his pants, as Colton Bachman scored his first career points as a Tiger on the ensuing layup to give the Tigers a 91-59 lead.
WHO STOOD OUT: Wittenberg saw 12 different players score in all on Friday night, as Bertemes (17), Roy (12), Connor Seipel (11), and Rashaad Ali-Shakir (10) all scored in double-digits for the home team. Bertemes shot 70% from the field, including a 50% night from beyond the three-point line, as Seipel recorded a night of 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. Jordan Pumory got it done on the glass once again for Wittenberg, hauling down a game-high nine boards for the Tigers, while dishing out two assists and recording two steals.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Wittenberg outrebounded the Cougars 43-23 and held the visiting squad to a dismal three of 21 from behind the three-point line. Misericordia was forced into 15 turnovers, while the Tigers scored 19 points off those Cougar miscues. Wittenberg led by as many as 32 in a game that saw no ties, and no lead changes. Down in the low post, it was all Tigers in the NCAA round one-win, outscoring Misericordia 36-21 in the paint.
UP NEXT: Wittenberg is back in action tomorrow night for the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. The Tigers take on #24 Wisconsin-Oshkosh at Pam Evans Smith Arena at 7:00 P.M.
Listen: @mattcroci chats after @WittenbergHoops defeats Misericordia in the @NCAADIII Tournament.— Scott Leo (@Scott_Leo) March 3, 2018
Tigers are now 17-4 all-time in NCAA Tournament First Round. #TigerUp @WittAthletics https://t.co/YUV9Vx1r3V
#3 @WittenbergHoops vs. @MUCougars— Wittenberg Athletics (@WittAthletics) March 2, 2018
�� #ThePam | Springfield, Ohio
��️ @NCAADIII Tournament
��️ 7:30 P.M.
��#TigerUp #d3h pic.twitter.com/tt1tqpA8bc