Section: Sports

Men’s basketball’s late game woes continue against Tigers

The Lords basketball team (5-15) blew an early lead in the first half in their game on Wednesday night, and ultimately lost 66-54 after allowing a second half run to the Wittenberg Tigers. Despite the loss, Alex Laub ’18 played well, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds, in addition to contributing a number of impressive feats of hustle. The Lords also suffered a couple of bumps and bruises in the loss, as Bennett Grigull ’18 and Matt Shifrin ’19 were both limited in the second half with injuries.

After starting their season with 10 straight losses on the road, the Lords basketball team finally shed the pressure  with a win at Wabash College on Saturday afternoon. The Lords had shown some progress prior to this past weekend, with narrow defeats to nationally-ranked Denison University and Allegheny College, but Saturday’s victory in Crawfordsville, Ind. was a big step forward for a team that hasdbeen slowly trending up prior to Wednesday night’s defeat.

Both of the Lords’ losses last week came in games where Kenyon played well in the first half, before faltering and allowing second half runs by their opponents. The roles were reversed on Saturday against Wabash, as the Lords led 25-22 at the half and exploded in the second half, outscoring the Little Giants 45-23 and finding a second gear offensively. The Lords played excellent defense, allowing just 45 points — a season best — while holding the Little Giants to just 12 for 49 shooting (24.5 percent) and 2 for 17 (11.8 percent) on their three pointers. That 24.5 opponent field goal percentage is the lowest the Lords have allowed in 17 seasons. Kenyon also limited Wabash’s scoring opportunities, forcing ten turnovers while giving the ball away just four times.

Bennett Grigull ’18 led the team with 15 points, including three three-pointers, while fellow junior Alexander Powell scored 14 off of the bench to provide another dimension to the Lords scoring. Big man Phillip Crampton ’18 also poured in a dozen points.

First-year players contributed significantly in Saturday’s victory. Ryan O’Neil ’20 scored eight points and dished out a team-high five assists in his first career start, while Carter Powell ’20 made an impact outside of the scoring column, grabbing eight rebounds and recording four assists of his own.

Lineup flexibility has been a major part of the Lords’ season. Ethan Shapiro ’17 is the only Lord to start all 20 games this season, and eight players have started five or more games. Head Coach Dan Priest has relied heavily on some of his first-year players this season, in addition to the usual use of his upperclassmen. First years O’Neil and Powell have been members of the starting five this season, while Ben Stern ’20 ranks sixth on the team in minutes even though he has come off the bench all season.

The Lords next play at home on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Ohio Wesleyan University.

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