- By David Jablonski Staff Writer
The No. 5 Wittenberg Tigers rolled to an 87-58 victory Saturday over Allegheny in Meadville, Pa., improving to 17-0 and 10-0 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
Wittenberg has won eight games in a row by double digits. This was its most lopsided victory in conference play since an 86-55 victory at Denison on Dec. 9.
“I’m really proud of the defensive effort today,” Wittenberg coach Matt Croci said in a statement posted to Twitter. “While we struggled shooting from the perimeter, we were able to get stops and convert at the rim when we needed to.”
The Tigers shot 38.9 percent from the floor, their lowest percentage of the season, but held Allegheny to 36.9 percent. Wittenberg made up for an off shooting night by making 23 of 28 free throws (82 percent).
Mitch Balser led the Tigers with 17 points, making 4 of 7 3-pointers. Chad Roy made 6 of 12 shots from the field and scored 16 points. Connor Seipel also shot 50 percent (6 of 12), scoring 14 points.
Wittenberg dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Gators 55-33. Wittenberg had 22 offensive rebounds to Allegheny’s eight. Seipel had 13 rebounds. Roy had 10.
The Tigers had a 20-2 advantage in second-chance points. Wittenberg’s bench outscored Allegheny’s 30-12.
With eight games to play in the regular season, Wittenberg owns a three-game lead in the NCAC over Ohio Wesleyan (12-5, 7-3), Wooster (13-4, 7-3) and Hiram (11-6, 7-3).
The Tigers play their next three games at Pam Evans Smith Arena: 7 p.m. Wednesday against DePauw (7-10, 3-7); 3 p.m. Saturday against Denison (10-7, 6-4); and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 against Kenyon (5-12, 2-8).
Entering the weekend, Wittenberg remained one of three unbeaten teams in the top 10, along with No. 1 Whitman (16-0) and No. 4 York, which suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, falling to 16-1 with a 59-57 loss at Mary Washington.