College Basketball

Little Giants survive against rival DePauw


Wabash Always Fights. The school motto of Wabash College rang loud and true Wednesday when the Little Giants welcomed rival DePauw to Chadwick Court for the North Coast Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The heated rivals battled in a close game, with the biggest lead being nine by the Little Giants.

In the end the visiting Tigers had two chances to win the game, but Wabash held on for what was a thrilling 62-61 win in front of an electric Chadwick Court.

With one minute left in the game and Wabash leading 62-56, Rich Brooks misses the front end of a one and one free-throw and Grant Niego scores one to make the game 62-59. Edreece Redmond proceeds to miss the front end of another one and one with 18 second left, and Niego lays it in with nine seconds making it 62-61.

Then a third straight free-throw is missed by Brooks and DePauw has a chance to win with just five seconds left.

Wabash deflected the ball out of bounds twice and with .2 seconds left, all the Tigers could hope for was a tip in.

The 7-foot, 2-inch Noah Hupmann was guarding the in-bounds and got a piece of the ball.

“There was a number of things down the stretch we didn’t do well other than just miss free-throws,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “We didn’t contain the dribble that well and let Niego get a couple of lay ups. This group is going to have to learn from this one because we played poorly and still won. The surprising thing for me was we weren’t great at all from two (8-25). We are normally so efficient from two and that’s normally something we don’t have to worry about being bad at. We got it in the paint a lot and normally we make people pay and we weren’t able to. Because of that we couldn’t separate from them and were in a dog fight until the end.”

What was working for the Little Giants was their ability to knock down shots from three. Wabash made 13-33 (39%) of their shots from beyond the three-point line and they needed every single one of them. Five out of the last six made field goals down the stretch for the Little Giants came via the three.

Redmond led the way for Wabash with 17 points, while Randy Kelly, who got his third straight start, scored 13, and Ahmoni Jones ended with 11.

Second-year DePauw coach Rusty Loyd was proud of his young group.

“What defines Wabash basketball is toughness,” Loyd said. “They are a tough group of guys and we felt like we had to match that level of toughness in order to win and I thought we did. Every time we clawed back to get it to one, they seemed to hit a big three and we were fighting uphill the entire night. Some of these guys are getting their first taste of what this rivalry is like and a lot of them stepped up and rose to that level of toughness that we needed.”

For the game the visiting Tigers shot 22-55 (40%) from the floor. They made just 3-15 (20%) of their threes but did go 14-20 (70%) from the free-throw line. They out-rebounded Wabash 42-34 and only turned it over eight times. They were led in scoring by Niego’s 19 points. Sam Jacobs added 14, Brady Kunka had 12 and Reph Stevenson scored 10.

The scene at Chadwick Court felt like it was a home playoff game for the Little Giants. More than 1,300 people jammed inside and between the Wabash fans, the band, and of course the Chadwick Crazies, they made sure their impact on the game was felt.

“There’s nothing like our home fans,” Redmond said. “The Chadwick Crazies live up to their name and always come out to support us. In a game like this the energy that they bring is un-matched. We feed off of their energy since they’re so close to the court. It’s awesome getting to play in an environment like that.”

Wabash with the win moves to 5-2 (1-0 NCAC) on the season while the Tigers fall to 3-3 (0-1 NCAC) with the loss. The Little Giants will continue NCAC play Saturday when they travel to Oberlin College for a 2 p.m. tip.

Wabash and DePauw will meet again later this season in Greencastle on Jan. 24.