Despite a strong first half, the Lords fell to the Wittenberg Tigers 78-63 on Wednesday night. The Lords, who entered the game 6-13 and 3-9 in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), were trying to upset the nationally ranked Tigers, a team that remained undefeated on the year (20-0) with their victory.
The Lords took advantage of a relatively flat start by the host Tigers, jumping out to early leads of 9-2 and 13-5. Power forward Phil Crampton ’18 came out particularly hot, making his first three shots while scoring seven of those early 13 points.
Despite a Wittenberg run around the halfway mark of the first half, the Lords kept it close and went into the locker room with just a four point deficit at 38-34.
The dynamics changed in the second half. The Lords came out of the locker room with a flat tire, allowing Wittenberg to score eight straight points to open the second half and quickly put Kenyon in a 12-point hole. The deficit remained near that size for the rest of the game. The Lords never got closer than 11 points and were outscored 40-29 in the second half to lose the game 78-63.
While no loss can be considered a positive outcome, there were a few bright spots for the Lords. That the Lords were able to remain competitive with one of the most successful and talented teams in the country is a victory in itself and could bode well as Kenyon quickly approaches the end of the regular season on the edge of the playoff picture. Another positive development from Wednesday night was the offensive play of Crampton. The senior power forward showed off his offensive versatility against Wittenberg, hitting a three pointer and a couple of fadeaway jumpers from the post to finish with 15 points.
With the loss, the Lords fell to 3-10 in the NCAC, which puts them a half game behind DePauw for the final playoff spot. With just six games remaining on the schedule, the Lords need to kick into a higher gear in order to extend their season past Feb. 17.
The Lords will next play on Saturday afternoon, when they will travel to Delaware, Ohio to take on Ohio Wesleyan University. Following that game, they will return home to host Oberlin College on Feb. 7. With Oberlin just a half game ahead of Kenyon with a record of 3-9, a victory for the Lords over the Yeomen would significantly boost Kenyon’s playoff chances.