Section: Sports

Lords drop two in a row after big win over Big Red

Ikenna Nwadibia '14 scored a team-high 23 points in the Lords' 73-61 win over Denison University. (Courtesy of JRD Photography)
Ikenna Nwadibia ’14 scored a team-high 23 points in the Lords’ 73-61 win over Denison University. (Courtesy of JRD Photography)

by Ben Payner | Staff Writer

The Lords enter the midpoint of their season and the heart of the conference schedule at 7-8 overall and 4-4 in conference. As things stand, men’s basketball sits in fifth place in the conference, but only two games out of second place. Although the frigid polar vortex seemed to directly correlate with the Lords’ cold shooting over the break, last week saw the Lords get back on track as they beat rival Denison University 73-61 but suffered a tough 61-52 loss at Wabash College. Last night, Kenyon lost to Wittenberg University 54-66 at home.

In the Denison game, the Lords were on fire from the field and the three-point line. Had they shot better than 14-26 from the free-throw line, this game would have resulted in a much bigger margin of victory than a mere 12 points. Leading the way for the Lords was Ikenna Nwadibia ’14, who poured in 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. Brian Lebowitz ’14 also had a strong game with 18 points and 10 boards. The first half of the game was tight until the Lords closed the half on a 12-5 run to take a 39-29 lead into halftime. The closest Denison got in the second half was when they cut the lead to six with 7:08 left on the clock. Over the next five minutes, the Lords went on a 10-0 run to essentially close out the game. From that point onward, the Lords coasted to a 73-61 win.

The battle against Wabash was difficult before the Lords even arrived to the court. The drive from Kenyon to Wabash should take around four-and-a-half hours. Because of weather and traffic problems, though, the 7:30 p.m. tip was delayed by over 90 minutes. The nearly eight-hour trip was trying on the team. As Cameron Bell ’14 put it, “I upgraded my clan tower to level five,” referring to the popular mobile game Clash of Clans. Backup guard Tim Connolly ’16 echoed Bell’s sentiments. “On the bus I was able to take over seven more provinces in Rome Total War,” he said.

It is hard for a team to sit on a bus for almost eight hours and then have 30 minutes to come out, warm up and play a game of basketball. Thus, it is not surprising that the Lords shot a season-low 25 percent (17-68) from the field and an even lower 21.1 percent (4 of 19) from three. Nwadibia continued to lead the Lords with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Jonathan Amador ’15 connected on 4-12 threes to give him 12 points. Amador is key to the Lords’ offense because his shooting can help stretch the floor and prevents defenses from keying in on Lebowitz and Nwadibia down low. This past week, he went 6-14 from three or 42.8 percent. This is well above his 31.1 three-point percentage season average. If Amador and Julian Pavlin ’14 can stretch the floor for the rest of the season, the Lords’ offense will be a dynamic one.

With 10 conference games remaining, the Lords can certainly still make a run to up the conference standings as long as they continue to battle — then the shots will fall.

“The rest of the year we need to continue to play hard and battle every night,” Lebowitz said. “If we do that, we’ll have a good chance to win a lot of games and accomplish our goals.”


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