Men’s Basketball Come Up Just Short to Tigers
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After a hard-fought battle against the Wittenberg University Tigers, the men’s basketball team came up short in a 63–70 loss on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Yeomen kept the game exciting and at times closed the gap to just three points, but in the end they could not shut down the Tigers’ offensive momentum.
Wittenberg, now 17–4, came out strong and immediately knocked down several three-point baskets. Oberlin held its own throughout the beginning of the first half, but headed into halftime down 11 points with a score of 34–23. Despite the powerful Tiger offense, Head Coach Isaiah Cavaco thought his team played well.
“It was exciting to see us continue to raise our level of play each time Wittenberg made a run on us. I was also excited to see our guys play such good defense and not hang their heads on a tough offensive night,” Cavaco said.
The Yeomen would continue to trail throughout the game, but came just within reach of the Tigers at 64–60 late in the second half. Sophomore Randy Ollie led this effort with six points to Wittenberg’s two during the scoring spree. The Evanston, IL native contributed an additional 13 points along with 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season and fifth of his career. However this was not enough to stop Wittenberg, which secured the win by scoring the final six points of the game.
“Going into the game, I was confident that we could beat them, and after the game I thought that we let the win slip away from us,” said first-year Jack Poyle. “I thought we competed well and really played hard.”
Poyle contributed nine points coming off the bench, along with six rebounds. The 6’1” guard has seen lots of playing time in his first season and had a career-high 30 points in an early game against Franciscan University back in November.
Despite their best efforts against Wittenberg’s defense, the Yeomen lost most of their major point-scoring opportunities at the foul line, making just 60 percent of their free throws. However, key players did put up their fair share of points in the contest. Senior Captain Geoff Simpson tallied 15 points for the Yeomen, and classmate Emmanuel Lewis added eight of his own.
“Our physical effort was definitely there. We played hard. If we can do that, I feel like we can beat the top ranked teams in our conference. Other than a few mistakes, I felt like we were the better team Saturday,” Simpson said.
Looking ahead, the Yeomen are nearing the end of their campaign for a spot in the conference tournament. The team, currently 6–15, will face difficult opponents in upcoming events with games against Allegheny College, Hiram College, Ohio Wesleyan University and The College of Wooster. Simpson believes that although these games will be challenging, his team will be successful.
“Allegheny and Hiram will be tough games because they are on the road, but they are both games we expect to win. We need to put together a few days of solid practices and get ready to bring a full 40 minutes’ worth of effort to both games,” he said.
Cavaco also spoke to the significance of future games. With clinching a tournament spot on the line, he believes that all the teams have something at stake and that this will make for extremely tough competition.
Oberlin has seen the teams it will be facing in the upcoming weeks earlier in conference play this year. Although the Yeomen pulled off a 67–58 win against Allegheny in January, they lost previous matches against teams they will be seeing again soon, including a heartbreaking home game loss against Hiram that ended in a score of 73–71.
“I want us to continue to improve, play with consistency and take the fight to the other team. If we do those things, we earn the right to win some of these down the stretch,” Cavaco said.
The Yeomen will face the Hiram College Terriers on the road this Saturday and then return home for a senior night double-header with the women’s team on Feb. 19 against the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University.