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Wittenberg falls to Calvin in first round of NCAA tournament

A late first-half run by Calvin carried over to a dominant second half as the Wittenberg men’s basketball team bowed out of the NCAA Division III tournament in the first round with a 66-51 loss Friday night at Washington University of Saint Louis.

The Tigers (21-8) shot 10-of-26 from 3-point range (39 percent), but were 9-of-28 from inside the arc (32 percent).

Calvin shot 50 percent from the field and outscored the Tigers 13-3 at at the free-throw line.

Zack Leahy scored 15 points. He was Wittenberg’s only double-digit scorer. Steven Newell had nine points. Scott Masin scored six. It was the last game for those three seniors, who were playing in their third NCAA tournament in four years.

Tyler Kruis had 19 points for Calvin on 8-of-14 shoot. Jordan Brink added 10.

Calvin advanced to face the winner of the second game, Washington or Wilmington, tonight.

In the first half, Wittenberg jumped out to a 5-0 lead and took a 17-13 lead nine minutes into the game on a 3-pointer by Steven Newell. The Tigers took a 20-18 lead on another 3-pointer by Newell at the 7:32 mark.

Then Calvin began an 11-0 run to seize a 29-20 advantage with 4:01 to go. Wittenberg committed three turnovers during that stretch. The Tigers trailed 37-25 at halftime.

Wittenberg got as close as nine points in the opening minutes of the second half, but Calvin pushed the lead to 47-30 with 13 minutes left.

The Tigers could get no closer than 13 points after that and trailed by as many as 21.

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