College Basketball

16th ranked Little Giants suffer first loss vs Ravens


Two pre-season conference favorites met in a great Division III College Basketball game on Tuesday at Chadwick Court. The 16th ranked Wabash College Little Giants hosted the Anderson Ravens. Wabash was the pre-season pick in the North Coast Athletic Conference while the Ravens were tabbed as the favorites in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The game lived up to the hype as it was also the home opener for the Little Giants. In the end a few key defensive stops down the stretch for the visiting Ravens allowed them to spoil the Little Giant home opener and come away with a 72-67 win.

With 3:40 left in the game Wabash cut it to a 64-63 Anderson lead. The Ravens responded with a three and then a blocked shot which turned into a transition lay up and just like that Wabash was down 69-63 and after that the Little  Giants just weren’t able to claw back.

“These are two programs that have very high expectations this season,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said of the early season battle. “I’m going to take the blame for this one because we got off to a great start and I probably let our starters play too long, and then our substations weren’t where they normally are. We went six minutes without scoring a point (12:19 mark to 6:06 mark). It was a bad stretch of coaching in the first half. We settled down after getting down by nine and then to get it to two by halftime I was pretty happy with where we were at.”

Wabash jumped out to an 18-7 lead but the Ravens started making shots of their own. Heading into halftime Wabash trailed 38-36 and then came out of the second half on fire. Two threes by Vinny Buccilla and one more by Ahmoni Jones allowed Wabash to start the half on a  11-0 run to take a 47-38 lead.

A big factor in the game for the Little Giants in the loss was that they turned the ball over 13 times and it resulted in 21 points for the Ravens. For the game Wabash went 26-63 (41.3%) and 8-27 (29.6%) from three while shooting 7-8 from the foul line. They grabbed 42 rebounds including 14 offensive boards. Jones tried to carry the team on his back and ended the night leading all scorers with 26 points on 10-15 shooting. Buccilla added 11 on just 4-15, Gavin Schippert had eight and Sam Comer seven.

Anderson (2-0) made just one more shot than Wabash going 27-63 (42.9%) from the floor. The difference was the Ravens made four more threes going 12-33 (36.4%). They had 39 rebounds but 15 of those coming on the offensive end. They shot just 6-17 (35.3%) from the foul line and turned it over just nine times.

The Ravens were led in scoring by Bryson Huckeby’s 16 points. Both Tate Ivanyo and Cam Smith had 15 with Elijah Mattingly scoring 11. Jordan Gadis also chipped in eight.

Brumett noted how those turnovers were the main cause for his team’s troubles, especially with a veteran and senior heavy team out on the floor.

“We have to be more sound with the basketball plain and simple” Brumett said. “If you look at our turnovers it was a collective effort. We had 16 assists which is pretty good but when you add in 13 turnovers, our assists could’ve been a lot better if we held on to the ball. I’m going to put a lot of pressure on our captains (Jones and Comer). I’d rather have Ahmoni take three more shots even if they aren’t great shots because he is such a great shot-maker.  Our guys off the bench have to play better too. We can’t make it through this kind of a season playing our starters as much as we did.”

To back Brumett’s point. Buccilla played nearly the entire game with 39 minutes played, Comer was at 34, and Jones 31.

The loss for the Little Giants sees them fall to 1-1 on the season. Their tough non-conference slate continues as Wabash will travel to Jacksonville, IL this weekend for the Bill Morris Tournament hosted by Illinois College. Wabash will take on No. 21 North Park University on Friday and play either Coe College or Illinois College on Saturday.