Section: Sports

Lords basketball edged by No. 13 Ohio Wesleyan University

By Ben Payner | Staff Writer

Ikenna Nwadibia '14 almost triple doubled on Saturday against Ohio Wesleyan University. (Courtesy of Kenyon Athletics)
Ikenna Nwadibia ’14 almost triple doubled on Saturday against Ohio Wesleyan University. (Courtesy of Kenyon Athletics)

The Lords suffered a heartbreaking defeat over the weekend against the No. 13 Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops (OWU). Nearly 200 fans filled Tomsich Arena Saturday afternoon to watch OWU’s Nick Felhaber — who for the entire day couldn’t throw a grape in the ocean — drain a deep, desperation three with 6.8 seconds left to thwart the Lords’ upset bid and give Ohio Wesleyan a 68-65 victory.

Kenyon started the game  fast behind Co-Captain Brian Lebowitz ’14’s strong start. In the opening five minutes of play he had nine points on 4-6 shooting, including one three-pointer. Unfortunately, his two early fouls forced Head Coach Dan Priest to keep him on the bench for the remainder of the half. Tim Connolly ’16 stepped in and continued his exceptional play, pouring in nine points, including two three-pointers, in 10 minutes of first-half action.

As the game wore on, it was clear why OWU is a top-15 team nationwide. The Battling Bishops never panicked despite going down by as many as 11 points on three different occasions in the first half and managed to go into the half tied at 36. The Lords outshot OWU 52.2 to 36.1 percent in the first half and easily could have secured a lead had they made more than nine of their 17 free throw attempts.

The second half was a nail biter, with no team extending much of a lead. The largest margin the Lords led by in the second half was seven, with just over 11 minutes to play. OWU fought back, however, and took their first lead of the game, by a mere one point, with 4:46 left to play. Lebowitz responded with a jumper of his own on the next possession to give Kenyon the lead again. The teams continued to trade baskets until the Lords found themselves down by two with 1:30 left.

After a chaotic scramble for a loose ball, Co-Captain Julian Pavlin ’14 found Co-Captain Ikenna Nwadibia ’14, who returned the ball to Pavlin to finish the play with a game-tying midrange baseline jumper. Tied with 43 seconds left on the clock, the Lords needed one defensive stop, which they were unable to get. Perhaps the most crushing part of this defeat was that the Lords defended OWU’s last possession perfectly. They took away the first and second option and OWU was forced to take a deep three as the shot clock expired.

After two timeouts the Lords got the ball in Connolly’s hands with six seconds to go.  Following a sloppy venture up the court, Connolly ended up with a good look for the tie from near the Lords’ bench. Unlike OWU’s, Kenyon’s prayer would not be answered.

For the game, Lebowitz paced the Lords with 18 points and eight rebounds. Nwadibia had one of his best all-around games of the year with 10 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, only two dimes shy of a triple-double. Lebowitz indicated the team is not dejected after the heartbreaking loss, saying they were “excited to fight the rest of the season. We’ve had some frustrating losses but we really appreciate the fan support.”

Last night, Kenyon fell to rival Denison University 69-74 at home.

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Lords travel to DePauw University to take on the Tigers this weekend.


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