SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The Wittenberg Tigers saw a 12-point lead evaporate over the final 12 minutes of the second half in a stunning 59-57 home loss to Ohio Northern.
The Tigers dropped to an uncharacteristic 1-3 on the young season, while Ohio Northern moved back above .500 at 3-2. Wittenberg will try to end a two-game slide Saturday at Transylvania.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Tigers appeared to take control of this game as a lay-up by junior wing Kevin Murray (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) put Wittenberg ahead 46-34 at the 11:57 mark of the second half. That capped a 14-2 Wittenberg run to open the second half after the two teams went to the locker room knotted at 32 apiece.
Ohio Northern didn't exactly storm back, but the shots did start falling at one end and rimming out at the other. The key was an 8-0 run to end the game as the Tigers went scoreless over the final 4:15, while Ohio Northern completed the unlikely rally on a three-point play by Jake Cannan with just 36 seconds left. Two contested three-pointers by Wittenberg junior guard Gregg Hill (Farmington Hills, Mich./Redford Union) caromed off the iron in the final 10 seconds and the Polar Bears escaped with the victory.
Hill led Wittenberg with 18 points and five rebounds in the game, splitting his points evenly in the two halves. Senior wing Brandan Barabino (Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit) added eight points and team-highs of eight rebounds and four steals, while Murray added eight points and six boards. The Tigers shot just 35 percent from the field and were unable to cash in at the free throw line either, making 16-of-24.
Ohio Northern wasn't much better from the field at 38 percent, but the Polar Bears hit six more three-pointers in the game and were an efficient 12-of-15 from the charity stripe. ONU held a 39-38 edge in rebounds, although Wittenberg did a much better job protecting the basketball with just eight turnovers to 15 for the Polar Bears.