GREENCASTLE, Ind. – Two free throws by junior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, Ohio/Bethel) with 11 seconds remaining gave Wittenberg a lead, and a defensive stand that forced an off-balance attempt at the other end pushed the Tigers past host DePauw 63-62 and into the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament semifinals.
Wittenberg lost twice to DePauw during the 2012-13 regular season, including a controversial 68-66 overtime defeat on the same court on Jan. 23. As a result of tiebreaker criteria, the Tigers were sent on the road for the first time ever in the NCAC Tournament quarterfinals, despite finishing in a three-way tie for third place in the regular season standings with DePauw and Kenyon.
However, for the 22nd time in 24 years as a conference member, Wittenberg has advanced to the NCAC Tournament semifinals, thanks in no small part to Masin's 25 points, one short of his career high. He was one of three Tigers to score in double figures as Wittenberg advanced to face top-seeded Wooster, the NCAC regular season champion, on Friday, Feb. 22.
Like DePauw, Wooster swept the regular season series from Wittenberg. The Scots have won the last four NCAC Tournament titles.
Things started off well for the visiting Tigers, who ran out to a 12-point lead midway through the first half, but the host Tigers answered by outscoring Wittenberg 24-10 through intermission. The largest lead of the second half was five points for the visiting Tigers, but that too evaporated over the final 3:20 as DePauw stormed back to take a one-point lead with 29 seconds remaining.
Wittenberg answered with an efficient offensive possession that resulted in two free throws for Masin. He calmly knocked them both down, and DePauw was stymied at the other end after timeouts by both teams.
The visiting Tigers shot 48.8 percent from the field, compared to 38.3 percent for the host Tigers. DePauw held a 33-29 rebounding advantage, and the host Tigers committed five fewer turnovers in the game.
Individually, Masin hit 7-of-10 from the field and 11-of-14 from the free throw line to go along with eight rebounds. Senior Cam Walton (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) added 11 points as he hit three key three-pointers off the bench, junior Zack Leahy (Rossford, Ohio/Rossford) chipped in with 10 points, and junior Steven Newell (Englewood, Ohio/Northmont) stuffed the stats sheet with five points, six rebounds and three assists without a turnover in 31 quality minutes.