TRAFFIC ALERT

Crash involving semi, car shuts down I-70 EB in Mad River Twp. 

Sophomore Seipel a big reason for Wittenberg’s success

Groveport Madison grad surprised to win NCAC tournament MVP


Highlights

Wittenberg plays in first round of NCAA tournament at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

If everyone in Pam Evans Smith Arena on Saturday night thought Wittenberg Tigers forward Connor Seipel looked surprised when he was named MVP of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament, they were right.

“I was shocked,” Seipel said.

Seipel expected senior Chad Roy, his partner in the frontcourt, to earn the honor. After all, just three years ago, Seipel was coming off the bench as a junior at Groveport Madison High School. He didn’t even consider playing college basketball until he was a senior when Capital started recruiting him. Then Wittenberg coach Matt Croci heard about him from a friend of Seipel’s mom, and that’s how he ended up with the Tigers.

» NCAA TOURNAMENT: Wittenberg plays Misericordia on Friday

Seipel’s quick rise has been unlikely, but that has been the story all year for Wittenberg. A team that lost four starters was thought to be at least a year away from a season like this.

Instead, the Tigers (26-2) enter the NCAA Division III tournament with a No. 3 ranking — they even received two first-place votes in the D3Hoops.com poll this week — and the opportunity to host games in the first four rounds if they keep advancing. They play Misericordia (17-10) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pam Evans Smith Arena.

The 6-foot-6 Seipel has played a big part in a season that ranks among the program’s best.

“Connor’s had a tremendous year,” Wittenberg coach Matt Croci said Monday. “He’s had a big jump from his freshman to sophomore year, and that’s when most guys have their biggest jump. He is a really hard-working kid. He’s a grinder. He puts a lot of time and effort in. He’s gotten stronger. He’s gotten more fit. There’s a lot that goes into it. I think he benefits from a certain degree to having Chad. Chad usually draws the No. 1 assignment. Connor gets who next, and he has made teams pay.”

» NCAC TOURNAMENT: Wittenberg wins first title since 2006Photos of championship game

Seipel ranks third on the team in scoring (11.1 points per game). He leads the team in rebounding (6.8). He scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting Friday in a 97-73 NCAC semifinal victory against Denison and 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting Saturday in an 82-70 victory against Ohio Wesleyan in the championship game.

Seipel and Roy combined to score 56 points and make 27 of 34 shots in the final.

“We made a concerted effort to go inside, which we do every game, but it was working,” Croci said. “I will give our guys a lot of credit for not going away from it at all.”

Last season, Seipel appeared in all 27 games as a freshman. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game. He dropped his weight from 240 to 225 during his freshman year and weighs close to 220 this season.

“It makes me be able to stay on the floor longer,” Seipel said. “I’m not as tired. I’m better on defense.”

Seipel has come a long way in a short time. He was stuck behind more experienced players until his senior year at Groveport Madison. He said he came off the bench as a junior. It didn’t take him as long to earn a starting job in college. He moved into the starting lineup in the sixth game this season.

Junior point guard Mitch Balser, who played against Wittenberg and Seipel last season when he was at Wooster, said he was blown away by how much Seipel improved.

“I knew he was good last year,” Balser said. “It is impressive. I’m just glad I get to play with him for another year. He’s something else.”

NCAC awards: Roy was named the NCAC Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday and was also named to the all-conference first team. Balser made the second team. Sophomore guard Jake Bertemes received an honorable mention. Croci was named the coach of the year. In the women’s awards, Wittenberg freshman guard Delaney Williams made the third team.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0
Reds blanked by Marlins, 6-0

The Marlins became the first major league team to draw fewer than 1 million fans at home since the 2004 Montreal Expos, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 Sunday before 13,595 to complete the Miami portion of their schedule in Derek Jeter’s first season as chief executive officer. “Obviously we would like to fill it up every day, but I know...
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals
Newton’s 4 TDs lift Panthers over Bengals

Panthers coach Ron Rivera wanted a little something more from his offense, which is why he turned to his old boss Norv Turner as the team’s new coordinator this season. Rivera, who once coached under Turner in San Diego, said he got exactly what he was hoping for Sunday. Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others , Christian McCaffrey...
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football
Game schedule: Week 6 high school football

Oakwood at Brookville, 7 p.m., ABC 22 / FOX 45, Ch. 45.2, Ch. 995 (Spectrum), Ch. 44 (Dish), mytvdayton.com Alter at Cin. Purcell Marian at Cin. Walnut Hills, OhioSportsline.net/ Arcanum at Bethel Bellbrook at Valley View, radio1.gemcitysports.com Bellefontaine at Kenton Ridge Benjamin Logan at Indian Lake Butler at Greenville Carroll at Badin...
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0
Wittenberg Tigers blast Kenyon 45-3 to improve to 3-0

Wittenberg University junior Nick Kendall knew he had to pay homage to the players who came before him. After finishing a 75-yard touchdown run, Kendall ran over the alumni section in attendance for Champions Night where he gave high-fives to multiple former Tigers football players. Kendall finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries as...
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day
Report: Ohio State discussing ‘coach-in-waiting’ scenario with Ryan Day

Ryan Day returned to his role as Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Saturday after leading the Buckeyes to a 3-0 start.  He was filling in for head coach Urban Meyer, who was suspended after a university investigation found he mismanaged the employment of receivers coach Zach Smith.  >>GAME STORY: Ohio State crushes...
More Stories