by Matt Wilson|
The Journal Review • January 8, 2010
Wabash basketball coach Mac Petty said the solution to turning around his team’s 0-2 North Coast Athletic Conference record is simple — play conference games at home.
Both of the Little Giant league losses have come on the road (78-71 at Denison Dec. 5 and 78-60 at the College of Wooster Dec. 20). Wabash has a golden opportunity to get back into the conference race this weekend as it hosts Hiram 7:30 p.m. today and Allegheny 2 p.m. Saturday at Chadwick Court.
“Your whole routine is different when you are on the road and you have to be mentally tough,” said Petty, whose team carries a 5-5 record into the weekend. “If one thing goes wrong when you are on the road, then that can change the tide of an entire game. You just feel more comfortable when you are on your home floor.”
Chadwick Court has been good to the Little Giants this season, as Wabash is a perfect 3-0 at home. To see how important playing at home is to Petty’s squad, fans can look at the two DePauw games this season.
The Little Giants lost at Greencastle 65-57 on Nov. 29.
When DePauw came to Crawfordsville on Dec. 11,Wabash came away with a 72-50 victory. The Little Giants’ average margin of victory in home games is 23 points, beating Rose-Hulman by 18 points on Dec. 8, DePauw by 22 points and beating Franklin by 29 points Saturday.
“The main thing we have to do this weekend is protect our home court,” said Wabash junior guard Wes Smith, who leads the Little Giants with his average of 19.6 points per game. “As long as we keep doing the things we have been successful at, we are going to have a good weekend.”
Smith was named the NCAC Player of the Week after his 31-point, 10-rebound effort against Franklin.
The two-game conference homestand came at a good time for the Little Giants. Wabash joins Ohio Wesleyan, Oberlin and Kenyon at the bottom of the NCAC standings. Hiram is 2-0 in league play and joins Wooster and Denison as the three league unbeatens.
“This is a big weekend for us,” Petty said. “We are 0-2 in the conference, but now we at home and we have to take advantage of that. Now we had Monday through Thursday to prepare for the games.”
The Terriers are 2-5 away from home.
Hiram’s big conference win came at home Dec. 5 when it defeated Wittenberg 92-74. Since that win, however, the Terries have lost four of their last six games, including three straight.
The Terriers competed in the Marymount (Va.) University Tournament over the weekend, losing to Rutgers University-Newark 85-59 in the opening round and host Marymount 71-67 in the consolation game.
Hiram is averaging 37 rebounds per game, led by junior forward Babajide Eniola’s 8.5 boards a contest. Junior guard Glenn Campbell (4.3), sophomore forward Chris Meyer (4.1) and junior forward Hassan Muhammad (4.0) also average at least four rebounds per game.
“They rebound well as a team,” Wabash senior Aaron Brock said. “We have to make sure we get in a position to get a rebound and then set our offense.”
The Terriers are led by Chris Roberts’ 14.1 points per game, but Roberts didn’t play in Hiram’s loss to Marymount on Sunday.