The Lords basketball season came to an end on Tuesday night when the team lost 89-81 to the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops. The game was a bittersweet loss for the team, as the eight-seed Lords came close to taking down top-seeded OWU but ultimately could not finish off a furious second-half comeback.
The Lords got off to a strong start in the first half, scoring the first 12 points of the game. The Battling Bishops fought back, and held a 48-30 lead at the half. The Lords came out of the locker room with improved play in the second half, outscoring Ohio Wesleyan 51-41 to end up just short of completing what would have been an incredible comeback. Kenyon was a huge underdog in the game, with a regular season record of 5-20. Ohio Wesleyan went 19-6 in the regular season to claim the NCAC regular season title.
Despite the record difference between the two teams, the Lords gave themselves a strong chance of winning the game with their play. The Lords outrebounded the Battling Bishops 40-27, and shot 50 percent from the field as a team. Ultimately the game came down to fouls, as the Bishops got more whistles from the referees and shot 23 free throws, as opposed to the five free throws the Lords had a chance to shoot. The Lords were also playing without key contributors Matt Shifrin ’19 and Alex Laub ’18, who missed the game due to injuries.
In the season-concluding loss, Phillip Crampton ’18 had one of the best games of his collegiate career, scoring a personal best 27 points to lead all scorers. Crampton hit five of his seven three-point attempts, and shot 71 percent from the floor overall. In a game where the Lords dominated the glass, Crampton grabbed eight rebounds of his own. Fellow junior Bennett Grigull also grabbed 10 rebounds while scoring 13 points. In the final game of his collegiate career, Ethan Shapiro ’17 scored eight points on seven shots.
While the Lords went just 5-21 overall this past season, Head Coach Dan Priest was happy with the team’s play.
“I was proud of how our team continued to fight and compete throughout the season,” Priest said on Wednesday. “We had several close losses, and then all the injuries to key players and youth forced us to reinvent ourselves late in the season. I think our returning players gained valuable experience and learned what it takes to be competitive in one of the best Division III basketball conferences in the country.”