In an all-time series dominated by Wittenberg 71-6 since 1911 and with an average victory margin of 23.5 points over the last five seasons, the Tigers’ close 51-47 win over Oberlin will likely stand out.
Oberlin has not beaten Wittenberg since 1979, but Saturday the Yeomen came the closest to breaking the streak since it began.
Fortunately for Wittenberg, there was sophomore Sam Collins, who, on a night when his team shot 38 percent from the field, including 2-of-16 from 3-point range, went 10-for-14 from the field (71.4 percent) for 21 points. He added four rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block.
Of those totals, nine points, two steals and a block came over the final nine minutes.
The Yeomen and Tigers were tied at 42 and 44 down the stretch. After the second tie, junior Zack Leahy sank two free throws, then stole the ball back, feeding Collins for a layup to make it 48-44 with 3:22 remaining.
Ball-handling issues on both sides led to more than two minutes expiring without any scoring before Oberlin’s Andrew Fox converted a three-point play to make it a one-point game with 1:11 on the clock.
The Tigers headed to the free-throw line to defend their small advantage as the clock dwindled to 25 seconds. Leahy and Collins each split their trips to give the Tigers a three-point bump and 16 seconds to defend it.
The Yeomen got the play they wanted, an open 3-point look, but the attempt with six seconds left fell short of the rim and stopped the clock out of bounds. Oberlin fouled Walton with three seconds left, and he split two free throws to seal the result.