Wittenberg basketball alums relish victory over Wooster

Former Tigers join team in locker room after big win


Wittenberg Tigers coach Matt Croci’s wife Patrice shared a video to Instagram of the team celebrating in the locker room after a 78-77 overtime victory Saturday against Wooster.

The second-year coach Croci was in the middle of the chaos as the team jumped up and down. Someone threw water on him. His shirt was soaked.

In the background were a few familiar faces — at least for those who have followed Wittenberg basketball for the last 15 years — not in uniform. Dane Borchers and Dan Russ, two key members of the national runner-up team in 2006, were among the 21 Wittenberg basketball alumni who joined the team in the locker room at Croci’s invitation.

“We have a long and rich tradition here,” Croci said Monday before practice, “so to have all those guys back for the alumni game and then in there celebrating with our guys, that just means so much to our players. I know those guys enjoyed being back for a really cool atmosphere and a lot of fun. It connects the old and the new. It was really cool.”

» GAME STORY: Tigers rally to beat Wooster

Fifth-ranked Wittenberg (23-2, 16-2) clinched its first outright North Coast Athletic Conference championship since 2012. That was also the last time it swept the regular-season series from Wooster, and it also beat Wooster in overtime in Springfield that season.

This latest victory will rank among the best games in the series. Jake Bertemes capped a 10-point comeback in the final 90 seconds with a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Then he won the game with a 3-point play with 1 second left in overtime.

“It was a tough call for them,” Bertemes said of the foul called on the play. “He just kind of brushed my side.”

The Tigers move into the NCAC tournament as the No. 1 seed. They play No. 8 seed Oberlin (12-13, 6-12) at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Springfield.

» RELATED: Freshman playing key roles for Wittenberg

Wittenberg beat Oberlin 78-65 on Nov. 29 in Springfield and 77-56 on Feb. 3 in Oberlin.

“We had two really competitive games with Oberlin,” Croci said. “The first game here we only won by 13, and they were missing one of their best players. The second game, it was a one-possession game at halftime. We know we have to be ready to go tomorrow, and we’ll worry about who were playing Friday if we get there.”

If Wittenberg wins Tuesday, it would play No. 4 seed Hiram (15-10, 11-7) or No. 5 seed Denison (14-11, 10-8) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals at Pam Evans Smith Arena. No. 3 seed Ohio Wesleyan (17-8, 12-6) hosts No. 6 DePauw (11-14, 7-11), and No. 2 Wooster (20-5, 14-4) hosts No. 7 DePauw (11-14, 7-11) in the other quarterfinals Tuesday.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

HS Scores 8/14: Oakwood boys card 149 in dual match

Girls Golf Tuesday’s Results Ben Logan 190, North Union 225 Greenville 217, Troy 219 Greeneview 211, Madison Plains 225 Mechanicsburg 237, Triad 238 Monday’s Results Greenville 229, West Carrollton 272 Oakwood 199, Tippecanoe 214, Miamisburg 223. Riverside 217, Fairbanks 239 St. Henry 192, Coldwater 211 Champaign County Tourney At Indian...
HS Roundup 8/14: Milton-Union edges Miami East with tie breaker

In a sixth player tie-breaker, Milton-Union beat Miami East in a dual golf match on Tuesday. Sam Zapadka earned medalist honors for Miami East with a 41 followed by Justin Brown of Milton-Union with a 45. Milton-Union won with a score of 189 and their sixth golfer Nathan Thompson with a 50. Girls Golf Skyhawk Invitational: Centerville girls won with...
Report: Zach Smith has extensive meeting with investigators for Ohio State
Report: Zach Smith has extensive meeting with investigators for Ohio State

Former Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith met Tuesday with the group investigating how Urban Meyer handled allegations Smith abused his wife.  According to multiple reports, Smith’s attorney gave a glowing assessment of the proceedings.  Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, has accused him of abusing her during their marriage and obtained...
McCoy: Losing Monday meant historically strange lineup for Reds
McCoy: Losing Monday meant historically strange lineup for Reds

The Cincinnati Reds lead the league in a dubious facet of the game, one classified as minutiae and something no team or manager wants to see. The Reds have used four different position players to finish out-of-hand games as pitchers — Cliff Pennington, Alex Blandino, Phillip Ervin and Brandon Dixon. Amazingly enough, those four guys have pitched...
A Browns win will release thousands of free beers into the world
A Browns win will release thousands of free beers into the world

The next time the Cleveland Browns win a regular season game, the first round is on Anheuser-Busch.  The team and the company revealed Tuesday several Bud Light Browns “victory fridges” will be place around the Greater Cleveland area (including at FirstEnergy Stadium), and they are set to be opened remotely as soon as the next Browns...
More Stories