Wabash was back home on Chadwick Court Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 10 as they looked to make it three straight wins. The Little Giants opponent wouldn’t be an easy win as they welcome the 3-1 Rose Hulman Engineers. The game turned into a grit and grind out style with the Engineers leading 34-28 at halftime. However the second half turned in the Little Giants favor and they found themselves needing just a single stop on defense after Tyler Watson grabbed on offensive rebound and then proceeded to make both free-throws to give them a 67-64 lead with just five seconds remaining. The game-tying shot by the Engineers fell short and Wabash was able to gut out a 67-64 win.
“I told the players that was a gritty win,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said after the win. “You have to give Rose Hulman credit. When we come in off scoring 90-plus in our last three games, they did a fantastic job of slowing the game down and limiting our possessions. They packed it in and that led to a lot of turnovers for us. I was most proud of though we were able to rebound very well in the second half, and that was a strength for us.”
To being the second half, Rose Hulman came out and increased their halftime lead to as much as 11, but a 9-0 run by Wabash which was capped by former Athenian Jesse Hall who drilled a three to give the Little Giants the lead at 47-45. Kellen Schreiber gave Wabash their biggest lead of the game at 65-57 but the Engineers responded with seven straight of their own to trim the deficit to just one with under a minute left in regulation.
Jack Davidson led the Little Giants with 16 points in the win. Ahmoni Jones had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Kellen Schreiber added 13 points and seven rebounds for Wabash. At the 15:12 mark of the second half, Davidson made his 536th career free-throw which moved him into first place all-time in Wabash Basketball history in that category breaking the previous mark of Chad Tabor ‘99.
“That record may never be broken again,” Brumett said of Davidson’s historic achievement. “I’m so proud that I’ve been able to coach him and that he wanted to and was able to get one last full season after what happened a year ago. He’s helped change the program for us and has helped add to the tradition that was here before I got here.”
What sparked the Little Giants in the second half was a combination of feeding the ball into the post and getting Schreiber going with ten of his 13 coming in that second half as well as their defense which forced the Engineers to just 12-30 overall over the final 20 minutes of play.
“He (Kellen) had some bad luck down there but still found a way to score down there,” Brumett said. “He’s dealt with a lot of foul trouble but was able to stay out of it tonight. Overall we didn’t shoot it great from three tonight (just 10-33) but it puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you’re able to make that many and we had a lot that were really close to going in. Our message to them at the half was to tell them to continue to shoot it from out there because we know that we have great shooters who are aggressive.”
The win for the Little Giants sees their record improve to 4-2 (1-0 NCAC) on the season. With the three-game win streak now, Brumett is starting to see the confidence his team is having and the momentum they’re building.
“I’m really happy with how we’re going out and looking to win games even against tough competition,” he said. “It says a lot about our staff, our older guys and even our bench guys are playing well right now.”
Wabash will look to make it 2-0 in conference play on Saturday when they welcome Oberlin College to Chadwick Court for a 2 pm tip off.
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