Wittenberg University's men's basketball team recorded another 20-plus win season during the 2009-10 campaign as the Tigers compiled a 21-7 overall record. After finishing in a tie with Allegheny for third place in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) regular season standings, the Tigers advanced to the championship game of the league's postseason tournament, losing a tight contest against homestanding College of Wooster. Two late regular season home court losses to Allegheny and Wabash no doubt prevented the Tigers from gaining an at-large berth in the NCAA Division III tournament after playing in the NCAC Tournament championship game.
Wittenberg's strong season run was made, for the most part, without their full complement of front line players. Football and basketball standouts Josh McKee (New Carlisle, Ohio/Tecumseh) and Michael Cooper (Springfield, Ohio/South) were unable to join the basketball team until the second week of December after the football team advanced all the way to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. McKee missed the first seven games and Cooper the first eight games of the basketball schedule. Gregg Hill, the team's leading scorer through the first 13 games (14.6 ppg) and a returning first-team all-league player, was suspended from the program at the start of the second semester for academic reasons. It was the first academic suspension for a player in Head Coach Bill Brown's 17 years at Wittenberg.
Leading the way for the Tigers was junior guard Chris Sullivan (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), who led the team in scoring (12.8 ppg) while tying a season school record for three-point field goals made (90). Sullivan, the team's Most Valuable Player, earned second-team All-NCAC honors after the season. Senior David Nowicki (Carmel, Ind./Westfield) was also selected honorable mention all-conference after leading the team in minutes, assists and three-point field goal percentage. A rare two-year Tiger captain, Nowicki also led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio as he recorded an outstanding 3:1 ratio. Nowicki was chosen as the Tigers' Outstanding Defensive Player for the second consecutive season.
Other players who enjoyed standout seasons included senior post Mark Snyder (Celina, Ohio/Parkway), sophomore forward Clayton Black (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), and the aforementioned McKee and Cooper. Snyder, who joined Nowicki in the starting lineup for all 28 games, led the Tigers in rebounding (5.5 rpg) while averaging 7.1 ppg and shooting 53.9 percent from the field. Black led the team in field goal percentage (58.7 percent), offensive rebounds and free throws attempted. Black also excelled on the defensive end of the court with 17 blocked shots and 14 steals.
McKee was the team's second-leading scorer at 9.6 points per game and finished third on the team in three-point field goals with 32. Cooper was third in scoring (7.3 ppg) while shooting an outstanding 52.9 percent from the field. He capped his 2009-10 season with a tremendous 23-point, eight-rebound performance in the NCAC championship game.
Other letterwinners included seniors Kyle Bigler (Hilliard, Ohio/Davidson) and Brad Folta (West Lafayette, Ind./West Lafayette), juniors Seth Hill (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine) and Lewis Buzzard (Columbus, Ohio/Franklin Heights), sophomores Alex Brandt (Lewis Center, Ohio/Olentangy) and Jacob Weide (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) and freshman David Hieber (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg).
Highlight wins of the season included a sweep of all three Ohio Athletic Conference teams (Capital, Ohio Northern, Otterbein) on the schedule. The Tigers also won two different tournaments, the first by defeating Catholic University and Messiah College in the early season Gettysburg College (Pa.) Days Inn Invitational, and the second when they captured their own Charles B. Zimmerman Memorial Classic with wins over Olivet College (Mich.) and Marian University (Ind.). The Tigers also handed league rival Wooster their only home league loss. In the NCAC Tournament Wittenberg defeated Hiram College convincingly in the quarterfinals and captured a thrilling last-second come-from-behind victory over Wabash College before falling to the host Scots in the finale.