MEADVILLE, Pa. – In desperate need of a victory, the Wittenberg Tigers turned in one of their finest performances of the 2012-13 season in an 81-64 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) win at Allegheny.
The Tigers had lost three of their previous four games before heading out on what is annually one of the most challenging road trips of the season. Wittenberg responded well, shooting 51.9 percent from the field and doubling up the Gators on the boards to the tune of 36-18 to improve to 14-7 overall and 7-5 in the NCAC. Allegheny fell to 9-12 overall and 3-9 in the conference.
Wittenberg stands third in the NCAC standings with four games remaining. The Tigers are two games behind Ohio Wesleyan for second place and one game ahead of three teams.
It wasn't a blowout from the start, however, as Allegheny held a 20-18 lead with 7:44 to go in the first half. That's when Wittenberg embarked on a game-altering 13-0 run, sparked by freshman Alex Fultz (Cincinnati, Ohio/Glen Este) with a trio of three-pointers in a span of two minutes.
The Tigers led 37-30 at halftime, and they quickly added to the advantage with the first two baskets of the second half. Allegheny got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Fultz was tremendous in 23 minutes off the bench, making 6-of-8 shots from the field, including 5-of-7 from long distance for a career-high 17 points. He added seven rebounds, which matched a career-high he has now posted four times in his inaugural collegiate campaign.
Three starters reached double figures offensively as well, led by junior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, Ohio/Bethel) with his tenth double-double of the season with game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. His 21 points matched his season-best, and even more impressive was the fact that eight of his boards came at the offensive end.
Sophomore Sam Collins (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) added 17 points and eight rebounds, while junior Zack Leahy (Rossford, Ohio/Rossford) chipped in with 14 points. Also of note was the steady play of junior point guard Steven Newell (Englewood, Ohio/Northmont), who stuffed the stats sheet with six points, three rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
The Tigers, who ranked 23rd in the last NCAA Division III statistical rankings in rebounding margin at +7.2, helped their national ranking with a +16 margin today, grabbing two rebounds for every Allegheny board (36-18).