Greensboro, N.C. – The Wittenberg men's basketball team faced off against Emory University in the opening round the NCAA DIII Men's Basketball Tournament from Guilford College on Friday night from Greensboro, NC. The Tigers defeated the Eagles 100-88 in their NCAA Division III leading 29th tournament appearance in program history. On an already historic night, junior Connor Seipel tallied his 1,000th career point in a Wittenberg uniform when he scored his second bucket of the game at the 13:19 mark. Seipel became the 32nd Tiger to tally over 1,000 points while wearing the Red and White. The Columbus, Ohio native finished the game with 21 points on the night, pulling down six rebounds, knocking down 8 of 10 from the floor, while converting on all five attempts from the charity stripe. This is the 67th NCAA Tournament win in program history, as the Red and White improve 67-37 record all-time and 53-28 in DIII. Wittenberg now improves to an 18-4 record in DIII First Round games.
It was a back and forth battle through the early going as each side looked to claim the steady advantage in the first half. Wittenberg took a 51-41 lead into the break, shooting 61 percent from the field to open the game converting on 64 percent from beyond the arc. Jacob Bertemes led the Tiger scoring effort in the first half, scoring 12 points, knocking down 5 of 9 from the field. Rashaad Ali-Shakir followed up with 11 points coming off the bench for the Red and White. Ali-Shakir knocked down 4 or 4 from the floor in the opening half. James Johnson knocked down 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, scoring his first nine points of the half while adding two rebounds. Johnson piled on to his total in the second half, adding 11 points, knocking down 5 of 6 from the floor. The Tigers extended their advantage coming out of the break, jumping out to a 73-62 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game. Wittenberg maintained their lead over the Eagles with just over six minutes remaining with a 79-66 advantage. The Tigers closed out the Eagles by holding a 93-78 lead, heading into the final two minutes of action. Seipel led the scoring effort in the second half for the Tigers, scoring 15 points, converting on 5 of 6 from the floor. Senior Mitchell Balser knocked down 6 of 6 from the free throw line in the second half, while dishing out four assists.
Who Stood Out
Bertemes finished the night with a team-high 22 points, adding two rebounds, two assists and a steal to his total. Johnson knocked down 8 of 9 from the floor, enjoying a 4 for 4 night from beyond the arc for 20 points. Johnson led the Red and White rebound effort, pulling down seven boards. Balser served up a team-leading seven assists while finishing with nine points and a rebound to his credit.
From The Bench
Wittenberg will now face Guilford College (at Guilford) at 7:00 p.m. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner will advance to the Sectional Semifinal Round of the tournament next weekend at a site To Be Determined on Sunday.