College Basketball

Little Giants get revenge win vs Tigers

Stay atop NCAC with three-way tie


Each game seems to get bigger and bigger for Wabash College men’s basketball. After coming off a sweep of rival DePauw on Wednesday the Little Giants were back in the friendly confines of Chadwick Court for an even bigger North Coast Athletic Conference game as Wabash welcomed in the Wittenberg Tigers. Both Wabash and Wittenberg came into the game 7-3 in NCAC play and back on Dec. 9 the Little Giants suffered a 75-62 loss at Wittenberg. This time Wabash was able to get revenge thanks to a great second half where they out-scored the Tigers 44-30 to erase a nine-point halftime deficit and secure a 68-63 win.

Leading 64-63 with 50 seconds to go, Vinny Buccilla grabbed an offensive rebound and then the 7’2 junior Noah Hupmann secured another o-board which forced the Tigers to foul Ahmoni Jones who made both free-throws with just 17 seconds to go. Wittenberg missed the game-tying three, Jones made two more free-throw and that put a bow on the Little Giant win.

“This win and some of these close ones that we’ve had as of late, I think are really the benefit of some of our earlier season losses,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “In this game we really leaned on our older guys and their experience of being in big games. We haven’t had many games where we’ve successfully come back from that big of a halftime deficit. Those older guys didn’t play great in the first half and they were the ones down the stretch making plays left and right when we needed them to.”

After losing five straight games from Dec. 9 - Jan. 3, the Little Giants have rallied to win five our of their last six including four straight. In those four straight wins, they’ve held their opponents to 63 or fewer points. This team has embraced it’s identity of  being a defensive minded team and it’s being anchored by Hupmann who once again had five blocks. In his last three games, Hupmann has 16 blocked shots and Brumett has sung his praises the last several games and Saturday was no exception.

“Noah has been a guy that we can rely on as of late and he’s come such a long way from the beginning of the season to where he is now,” Brumett said. “This group has bought in to the defensive side of the ball over the last month and they should because we have an anchor like very few other teams do. He along with Ahmoni, Sam, Vinny, and Avery all made plays and it was a true team win today.”

Jones ended the game leading Wabash with 16 points. Buccilla scored 13, Sam Comer 11 points and eight rebounds, Avery Beaver and Nate Matelic seven, Rich Brooks and Hupmann both scored five with Josh Whack adding four. For the game the Little Giants shot 27-63 (42.9%) from the field and 7-22 (31.8%) from three while going a perfect 7-7 from the free-throw line.

Wittenberg (13-7, 7-4 NCAC) was led by Trey Killens who led all scorers with 25 points. Eddie Brown also scored in double figures with 14. The Tigers shot 27-54 (50%) from the floor and 4-13 (30.8%) from three while going 5-9 (55.6%) from the foul line.

The win for the Little Giants pushes their record to 12-8 (8-3 NCAC) and with both Wooster and Denison picking up wins on Saturday afternoon, it remains a three-way tie atop the conference standings. Up next for the Little Giants will be a road trip to Kenyon on Wednesday. On Dec. 6 Wabash cruised to a 76-50 win at Chadwick Court.