SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — In a rare late season non-conference game, the Wittenberg men's basketball team faced down former Ohio Athletic Conference rival Ohio Northern on the court at Pam Evans Smith Arena and came away with a 73-60 win to improve to 11-4 overall on the season.
With the non-conference schedule completed, the Tigers return to North Coast Athletic Conference action when d3hoops.com nationally-ranked No. 7 Wabash comes to Springfield on Wednesday, Jan. 19.
Against the Polar Bears, the Tigers put four players into double figures, led by senior Chris Sullivan (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington), who knocked down 4-of-10 three-pointers, including one as part of a four-point play, among 5-of-11 overall field goals for 17 points.
Junior post Clayton Black (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) followed Sullivan with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and added five rebounds and two blocks.
The Tigers and Polar Bears battled through much of the first half before Wittenberg pulled away with eight minutes remaining. Sullivan started off a 12-point run with a three-point make, followed by another by freshman guard Steven Newell (Englewood, Ohio/Northmont). Black followed that up with three straight field goals, including a crowd-pleasing dunk, to open up a 10-point lead.
The Tigers closed the first half with a six-point advantage, and opened the second with five straight points from junior wing Michael Cooper (Springfield, Ohio/South).
From that point, Wittenberg maintained a double-digit lead for most of the half. Ohio Northern fought to within eight points, but the Tigers responded with 8-of-9 at the line to close out the game.
As a team, the Tigers shot 53.3-percent, above .500 for the second-straight game and fifth time overall this season. The team is shooting at a clip of 46.1-percent on the year, a statistic that, if the season ended today, would be the best team mark since the 2005-06 season. The team's .375 three-point shooting is the best since the previous season, 2004-05.
Sophomore guard Cameron Walton (Waterville, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) went 3-of-4 from the field, including 1-of-1 from long range, for 10 points to go with a team-best seven rebounds. Cooper matched with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting and 3-of-4 at the line to round out the double-figure scorers.
Newell finished with eight points on 2-of-4 from the field and 3-of-4 at the stripe.
John Strawn '07