The Wittenberg men’s basketball team avenged two regular-season losses to DePauw and advanced to the North Coast Athletic Conference championship game for the first time since 2011 with a 63-61 victory Friday at Wooster’s Timken Gymnasium.
No. 3 seed Wittenberg, ranked 22nd in the latest D3Hoops.com poll, will play either No. 1 seed Wooster or No. 4 seed Ohio Wesleyan at 7 tonight at Wooster. The Tigers seek their first NCAC tournament title since 2006.
Wittenberg (21-8) trailed 58-57 after a 3-point play by DePauw’s Tommy Fernitz with 2:16 to play. A jump shot with 1:43 left by Alex Fultz gave Wittenberg the lead. The score remained 59-58 until Scott Masin hit two free throws for Wittenberg with nine seconds left.
DePauw turned the ball over on its next possession. Then Wittenberg’s Sam Collins hit 1-of-2 free throws with five seconds left to seal the victory.
Masin led Wittenberg with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Wittenberg got 33 points from its bench, including 10 from Shane Edwards.
The Tigers made 17-of-23 free throws (74 percent) to outscore DePauw (8-of-12) by eight at the line. DePauw made up for that discrepancy by making 7-of-16 3-pointers (44 percent), while Wittenberg shot 4-of-13 (31 percent) from long range.
Wittenberg trailed 12-6 after six minutes but quickly got back in the game. It was tied at 35 at halftime. Neither team led by more than four points in the second half.
Fernitz led DePauw (19-8) with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting. Luke Lattner scored 15 points off the bench.