SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – The short-handed Wittenberg Tigers went cold in the second half of a 72-60 loss to visiting North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rival Ohio Wesleyan.
The loss was Wittenberg's second straight at home, a rarity in the annals of the winningest NCAA Division III program. The last time the Tigers lost back-to-back games was two seasons ago at Wabash and Hiram in February 2011, and the last time Wittenberg dropped back-to-back home games was during the 2009-10 season when Wooster and Allegheny turned the unusual trick.
After falling behind by as many as nine points in the first half, the Tigers rallied to within one on a lay-up by freshman Alex Fultz (Cincinnati, Ohio/Glen Este) with 48 seconds remaining before halftime. In the second half, Wittenberg could get no closer than two points after trailing 37-34 at the intermission. The key stretch came after junior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, Ohio/Bethel) scored on a lay-up at the 9:37 mark as the Battling Bishops put the game out of reach with a nine-point run over the next three minutes.
Wittenberg, which was playing without two players who normally see action in Head Coach Bill Brown's 10-player rotation, shot a sizzling 57 percent in the field half. But the Tigers followed that up with an 8-for-26 performance over the final 20 minutes, while OWU build on 44 percent shooting in the first half to hit 12-of-25 in the second half.
Wittenberg held a six-rebound advantage for the game, but the Battling Bishops were tremendous with their ball security, committing just five turnovers, compared to 14 for the Tigers.
Individually, Masin led the way for Wittenberg with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Zack Leahy (Rossford, Ohio/Rossford) added 11 points, three boards and two assists. Also of note was Fultz's play as he finished with nine points and a career-high-tying seven rebounds.