- David Jablonski Staff Writer
The fifth-ranked Wittenberg Tigers have lost two straight games after winning 22 games in a row and now face a must-win situation against Wooster if they want to earn the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament.
Wittenberg (22-2, 15-2) plays No. 16 Wooster (20-4, 14-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Pam Evans Smith Arena. Wooster has won nine straight games since losing 86-75 at home to Wittenberg on Jan. 13.
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If Wittenberg loses to Wooster and the teams tie for first place, Wooster would earn the No. 1 seed because it swept the third-place team, Ohio Wesleyan, and Wittenberg split with Ohio Wesleyan. The NCAC tournament starts Tuesday with quarterfinal games played on the campuses of the four top seeds. The top remaining seed hosts the semifinals on Feb. 23 and finals on Feb. 24.
Wittenberg has already clinched a share of the regular-season title but lost 94-71 at Hiram on Saturday and 85-80 at Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday. The Tigers still have yet to lose at home, where they are 11-0. Ohio Wesleyan (16-8, 11-6) avenged a 93-72 loss at Wittenberg on Jan. 17.
The Tigers got off to a strong start at Ohio Wesleyan, extending their lead to 29-10 at the 9:45 mark in the first half. A 19-0 run ended with a layup by Ohio Wesleyan’s Will Orr at the 9:02 mark. That started a 24-4 run by the Battling Bishops.
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Wittenberg trailed 38-37 at halftime. Wittenberg trailed 83-80 when James Johnson missed a 3-pointer with nine seconds to play. Nate Alexrod clinched the game with two free throws.
Chad Roy led the Tigers with 24 points. Connor Seipel and Johnson each scored 15.
Ticket info: Wittenberg is selling tickets for $5 for the Wooster game at the HPER Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Friday. They are general-admission tickets. Buying tickets ahead of time will allow fans to skip waiting in line Saturday. Students and senior citizens get free tickets with a valid ID.