The good old saying in sports is that anyone can anybody on any given night. On Tuesday Wabash College Men’s Basketball who was recently ranked the No. 25th team in the NCAA Division III Poll hosted 0-4 Earlham College. One might think that the 5-1 Little Giants would handle the Quakers with ease. That wasn’t the case as from the get go the Quakers were the more disciplined, determined, and to put it simply all-around better team. That resulted in Wabash being on the receiving end of a 65-57 loss as Earlham came into Chadwick court and pulled off the upset.
Wabash’s largest deficit was 14 points but in the second half, they made a run to eventually even up the game at 49-49 with 7:18 left in the game. After that Earlham outscored the Little Giants 16-8 and pulled away for the win.
What told the story of the game was Wabash’s in-ability to generate anything offensively. For the game the Little Giants shot just 18-58 (31%) from the field and 4-23 (17.4%) from three point range. 12 of their 14 turnovers came in the first half as simply nothing could go right.
“First you have to give them credit because they seemed to want it from the tip more than we did,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said. “It’s very disappointing how we played tonight. When you get behind as much as we did and struggle offensively, it felt like we were searching for anything and that’s not a good feeling especially now that we’re seven games into the season.”
The question now becomes did the Little Giants overlook the Quakers? Brumett attempted to answer that question after the game.
“That’s a question that has to be asked,” he said. “You have to have a healthy fear of every single opponent that you play. That’s where the respect comes from. When you disrespect the game, you pay the price and we did tonight. I don’t want to say our guys didn’t want it more than they did, but it’s either that or we weren’t mentally prepared.”
Earlham got 49 of their 65 points from their trio of veteran guards as senior Jaden Terry led all scorers with 21 points in the upset victory for the Quakers. Fellow senior Tommy Makabu had 14 as did graduate student Anthony Phillips.
Ahmoni Jones and Sam Comer led Wabash with 11 points each while Vinny Buccilla and Edreece Redmond both scored 10. Champ McCorkle added seven, Avery Beaver four, and Styles McCorkle and Randy Kelly rounded out the scoring by each scoring two.
A big blow to Wabash came with 10:51 left in the game as Redmond picked up his fourth foul. Not liking the call Redmond then picked up a technical foul which also fouled him out of the game. At that time Wabash had built momentum and looked to heading towards maybe a big run. Those fouls by Redmond sucked any and all life the Little Giants had. Redmond is one of the best perimeter defenders as well for the Little Giants and his absence was felt in the final 10 minutes on both sides of the ball.
“Those three guys are really good players,” Brumett said of Terry, Phillips and Makabu. “I’d like to think if Edreece was out the final 10 minutes that we would have been able to guard them a little better. We put the pressure on them for a little stretch, but then lost momentum and all of the pressure fell back on us.”
With the loss the Little Giants fall to 5-2 on the season. They return to Chadwick Court on Saturday afternoon where they’ll open up North Coast Athletic Conference play when they host Oberlin, the only team to defeat Wabash a year ago in the NCAC. Brumett knows the Yeomen will likely be better than a year ago and will be ready when they come to Chadwick on Saturday.
“We don’t have real long to feel sorry for ourselves,” Brumett said. “They’re (Oberlin) going to be different than these guys but just as good. They’re pretty big and have a lot older guys. The real interesting thing will be that we now a chink in our armor and our confidence. It’s now up to us to decide how we’re going to respond to that.”
The Yeomen and the Little Giants will get things underway at Chadwick Court at 2 pm on Saturday.
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