By Ben Payner | Staff Writer
The Lords returned to action this weekend and picked up two quality conference road wins against Allegheny College (61-53 in overtime) and Hiram College (84-75). Last night, Kenyon fell to No. 11 the College of Wooster in Wooster by a score of 56-86.
The Allegheny win proved to be a defensive struggle, with both teams shooting low percentages. The Lords managed to build an eight-point lead with four minutes left in the first half, though Allegheny closed the gap to one going into the half.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second half, and Co-Captain Ikenna Nwadibia ’14’s layup with 2:03 left to tie the game at 51 proved to be the last points of regulation. Despite the close score, the Lords seemed to be in control most of the game.
“It was strange, we weren’t pulling away but I never had a doubt that we would win,” Co-Captain Julian Pavlin ’14 said.
Pavlin’s confidence proved prescient in the overtime session as the Lords outscored the Gators 10-2. The difference in overtime was the Lords’ ability to get to the charity stripe, and especially critical were Co-Captain Brian Lebowitz ’14’s contributions.
He scored eight of his game-high 16 points in OT, including six clutch points from the free throw line. He also brought down 12 rebounds, eight offensive, en route to his sixth double-double of the season. Nwadibia chipped in a double-double himself with 15 points and 10 boards. Also continuing his hot play was Tim Connolly ’16, who had 10 points and six boards in 29 productive minutes off the bench.
The Lords couldn’t celebrate the win for long — the next day they squared off against Hiram. Hiram came out on fire and the Lords trailed by as many as 11 in the first half. There were times where it seemed as if everything Hiram threw at the basket went in, as they converted eight three-pointers in the first half. But, the second half was a completely different story. The Lords got hot from the field, shooting 56.7 percent while Hiram only converted on 40 percent of its field goals in the second half.
This game could mark a turning point for the Lords as much of their strong play in the second half came from sophomores Connolly and Brien Comey ’16. Comey matched a career high with 19 points, while also pulling down a career high 10 rebounds en route to his first career double-double. Staying hot, Connolly contributed 13 points, including a huge three pointer to give the Lords a 68-63 lead with a little over five minutes to play. Over his last four games Connolly is averaging 13.5 points per game on 45 percent shooting, including a ridiculous 12-19 (63.2 percent) from behind the arc. He’s also delivering from the free throw line, going 87.5 percent while pulling down 3.5 rebounds per game, all from the backup point guard spot.
Right now Connolly and Comey are the sparks the Lords have needed all year on the offensive end.
“I’m not quite in that Carmelo [Anthony] zone but it does help my confidence going forward,” Connolly said. “[These are] great games to build off of and hopefully I can bring something positive to the team every night.”
As long as he keeps bringing the three ball, the Lords will be in good shape as they close out the remainder of their conference schedule, which continues this Saturday, Feb. 8 when the Lords host Ohio Wesleyan University at 3 p.m.