Tiger men shoot poorly, snap four-game streak
Poor shooting plagued the DePauw men's basketball team as they fell to visiting Wittenberg University by a final score of 54-53, Wednesday night at the Neal Fieldhouse.
The host Tigers dropped to 15-7 overall and 8-7 in North Coast Athletic Conference action, while Wittenberg improved to 9-13 on the year and 7-8 the NCAC.
In the first half, neither team could gain significant offensive momentum as DePauw shot just 36.7 percent from the floor and Wittenberg struggled to hold on to the ball, committing 12 turnovers.
DePauw used a 7-0 run starting at the 13:39 mark to take a 14-8 lead. The Tigers held a six-point lead with 6:07 left in the half before Wittenberg battled back to tie the score at 25-25.
Bradley Fey scored DePauw's final five points of the half, capping the scoring with a three just before time expired. The Tigers took a 32-27 lead into the locker room, going 11-of-30 (36.7%) from the floor, including 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from three and 7-for-10 (70%) from the charity stripe.
Wittenberg had impressive shooting numbers in the half, shooting 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the floor. Turnovers proved to be the equalizer as DePauw won that battle, forcing 12 and committing only four.
The visiting Tigers opened the second half on a 15-4 run, grabbing a 44-36 lead at the 13:57 mark capped off by a Shane Edwards three-pointer.
From the 11:58 to 6:14 neither team was able to net a bucket, while DePauw remained scoreless for a 7:21 stretch in the second stanza. Mark Johnson finally broke the scoring drought, tallying a layup at the 6:14 mark to close the deficit to just five.
DePauw battled back in the closing minutes, closing the gap to three on Frank Patton III's three-point play with just 1:37 on the clock. Bob Dillon had a chance to cut the lead to one, but his layup with 55 seconds remaining was blocked by Alex Fultz.
Following the block, Cody Phillippi was fouled and hit a pair of free-throws to extend Wittenberg's lead to 52-47 with 51 seconds left. Phillippi would knock down another free-throw, putting the visiting Tigers up 53-47 with 35 seconds remaining.
After two missed threes in the closing seconds, Patton nailed a long-ball with just 6.5 seconds remaining, making it a one-possession game.
It was Phillippi again who hit the game-sealing free-throw with under six seconds on the clock, putting Wittenberg up four.
Patton hit a three as time expired, but it proved to be too little too late, as the Tigers fell 54-53. DePauw shot a dismal 25.8 percent (8-for-31) in the half and struggled from the charity stripe going 2-of-6 (33.3%).
The Tigers were led by Patton who netted a game and career-high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Dillon and Fey added eight points, while Johnson grabbed seven rebounds. DePauw shot 31.1 percent (19-of-61) in the game, including 6-of-18 (33.3%) from three and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the free-throw line.
Wittenberg was led by Chris Sloneker with 14 points, while Edwards and Jaelin Williams added 11 and 10 points respectively. The visiting Tigers shot 48.8 percent (21-of-43) from the floor, going 1-of-7 (14.3%) from three and 11-of-18 (61.1%) from the charity stripe.
Points in the paint were dominated by Wittenberg with a 34-22 edge, including a 37-32 advantage on the glass. DePauw won the turnover battle, forcing 18 and committing just seven.
DePauw travels to Kenyon, Saturday, February 14, for a key NCAC matchup, starting at 3:00 p.m. The Tigers currently sit fourth in the tightly contested league standings, trailing Wabash by just one game for third place.