Second-Half Shooting Sends Wabash to Loss at OWUby Brent Harris • January 26, 2011
A cold-shooting second half by Wabash and a stellar effort by Ohio Wesleyan’s Tim Brady sent the Little Giants to their third loss in North Coast Athletic Conference basketball play with an 87-76 road defeat Wednesday night.
Wabash entered the game ranked eighth in the nation in field goal defense, but surrendered 36 points to Brady while he and his Battling Bishop teammates hit 28-of-60 shot attempts for 46.7 percent. Brady fired baskets from outside and inside, finishing with a game-high 36 points in a winning effort for OWU.
The Little Giants had no problem scoring in the first half, taking a five-point lead thanks to 18 baskets on 35 attempts. Wabash connected on 8-of-15 shots from 3-point range in the opening period, but cooled in the final period. The Little Giants could manage just nine baskets over the final 20 minutes, with five of the nine coming from Wes Smith (above left). The senior guard finished with 29 points to lead Wabash in scoring.
Ohio Wesleyan (11-8, 7-3 NCAC) scored the first six points of the second half to take a 46-45 edge before Wabash regained the advantage, stretching its lead to eight points with 13:44 left to play. The Bishops rallied with a 17-3 run over the next seven minutes to move in front by six. Vaughn Spaulding capped the run with a 3-point basket from the left side, finishing with six key points over the final six minutes for OWU.
Wabash would get as close as five points in the closing minutes, but was forced to foul after several missed shots. The Bishops would finish the game by connecting on 11-of-13 free throws in the final 1:24 to score the upset over the 11th-ranked Little Giants.
Aaron Zinnerman added 13 points for Wabash, which dropped into a tie for third in the NCAC standings with OWU with the loss. Marshall Morris scored 15 points for OWU, while Andy Winters tossed in 10 points and eight assists.
Smith’s 29-point effort sent him past Mike Crnkovich and into fifth place on the Little Giants’ all-time scoring list with 1,642 points.
Wabash (15-3) will try to regroup Saturday afternoon with a home contest --- the first in five games for the Little Giants. Tipoff at Chadwick Court is set for 3 p.m. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to support the Montgomery County FISH Pantry program. The Little Giants’ all-time scoring leader, All-American Josh Estelle, will be inducted into the Wabash Athletics Hall of Fame at halftime.