Wooster, Ohio – The Wittenberg men's basketball team took part in their 26th NCAC semifinal game on Friday night, taking on the Little Giants of Wabash College. The Tigers defeated the Little Giants 89-75, advancing to their 16th NCAC Tournament final in program history and their second NCAC final in two years. Wittenberg took a 46-31 lead into the break, shooting 52 percent from the field. James Johnson led the Wittenberg scoring effort, posting 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the floor and 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, adding four rebounds, a block and one assist. The Tigers finished with four scoring in double-figures, shooting 56 percent from the floor and 42 percent from deep range.
The Tigers battled the Little Giants back and forth through the early going, taking an early advantage after the first 10 minutes of the first half expired. Wittenberg tallied an 11-point scoring run over six minutes to help extend their lead of the Little Giants. Jordan Pumroy and Johnson would lead the Wittenberg scoring effort with 10 points each in the first half. Pumroy opened the game converting on 4 of 5 from the floor and knocking down two from deep range while adding two assists. Johnson knocked down his first 4 of 7 from the field to start, including 2 of 4 from beyond the arc just before the intermission. Wittenberg shot 52 percent from the field to open the game, knocking down 18 of 34 from the floor, including 6 of 14 from beyond the arc. The Tigers held a strong defensive front through the opening half, holding the Little Giants to 42 percent from the floor and just 1 of 7 from deep range. Wittenberg fended off a Wabash counter attack coming out of the break, as the Little Giants cut the Wittenberg lead to 48-41 just four minutes into the second half. Coming out of the break, Connor Seipel posted 15 points knocking down 4 of 5 from the floor, converting on all seven attempts from the charity stripe, pulling down four rebounds and dishing out two assists.
Who Stood Out
Jacob Bertemes stayed solid in the second half, adding six points to his nine from the first half. Bertemes finished the night with 17 points, knocking down 8 of 14 from the floor, adding three assists, to go along with a rebound, a block and a steal. Seipel finished the night with nine rebounds and three assists to go along with 17 points. Rashaad Ali-Shakir provided seven points off the bench for the Red and White, knocking down both looks from deep range. Ali-Shakir added a rebound an assist and a steal by the end of the night.
Wittenberg will take on the College of Wooster in the NCAC Championship game on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4:00 PM from Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, OH.