Men’s Basketball Wins Season Opener Over Tigers


Courtesy of Simeon Deutsch

Sophomore Jack Poyle looks past a Wittenberg University defender in a game last Saturday, Nov. 15. Poyle was named NCAC Player of the Week after he scored a career-high 26 points in Saturday’s contest.

Michaela Puterbaugh, Staff Writer

The men’s basketball team made history with a 65–63 victory over the Wittenberg University Tigers for the first time in 35 years on their home court last Saturday, Nov. 15. Sophomore guard Jack Poyle spearheaded the Yeomen’s offense with a career-high 26 points to provide his team with the edge it needed to push past the Tigers and break the 50-game losing streak against Wittenberg.

Head Coach Isaiah Cavaco commended the Yeomen for their accomplishment and said that the future looks bright.

“The whole weekend in general was good because it showed that we could accomplish something that hadn’t been accomplished in a while, and maybe that makes us a different team than in years past,” said Cavaco.

At the halftime buzzer, the Yeomen seemed doomed to an all-too-familiar fate, but it appeared that they were not ready to fold quite yet as they took the court for the last half. Poyle, who was tabbed North Coast Athletic Player of the Week, came out hot and managed to close the gap and then some when he sunk a three-pointer, putting the Yeomen ahead 60–59 late in the game. The Avon, Ohio, native went 11 for 16 from the field, tallying two more three-point shots against the Tigers, who went 21–8 last season.

“I have to credit my teammates for my performance,” said Poyle. “They helped put me in the position to make plays and without them, I wouldn’t have had the performance that I did.”

Poyle’s efforts were buoyed by classmates Zach Meyers and Nate Cohen. Meyers tallied nine points, five assists and four rebounds, and Cohen added the free throw necessary to secure the Yeomen’s win after a successful drive to the hoop with 25 seconds left to play.

Junior center Randy Ollie was sidelined for part of the game due to foul trouble but managed to finish the game with six points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.

“I think our teamwork was the key to our victory. A lot of people came into the game and contributed,” said Ollie.

Cavaco said that with a defense oriented around the guard, the Yeomen faced some hurdles when Ollie could not finish out the game.

“Defensively, everything we do is geared around playing around our center, and [Ollie] did a really good job,” said Cavaco.

Oberlin could feel the energy radiating from the 323 fans that filled Philips gym to cheer the Yeomen on. Poyle attributed his team finding its second wind to the fans’ enthusiasm.

“The crowd was awesome,” he said. “They were really into the game and they helped give the team the energy boost we needed to beat Wittenberg. It was the best crowd I have seen for any sport in my time at Oberlin, and it would be great to have that at every home game.”

Following the historic victory, the Yeomen could not take advantage of their momentum when they faced the Division I Youngstown State University Penguins and fell 71–53.

The Yeomen hung tough for the majority of the game, often trailing only by a few points, but were ultimately unable to push past the Penguins. Cohen led Oberlin with a valiant effort, tallying 15 points. He was joined by junior Matt Walker, who managed to put ten points on the board.

“In hindsight, we were emotionally and maybe physically spent from the day before, but I like the fact that we stayed aggressive and we weren’t intimidated by a Division I team,” said Cavaco.

On Wednesday night, the Yeomen took that aggressiveness to the road to play the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies in New Concord, Ohio. Cavaco’s defensive preaching paid off when Oberlin held Muskingum to just 21 of 65 in shots and forced 13 turnovers. Before the game, Poyle said he was confident that the Yeomen would produce more impressive results in Wednesday’s contest.

“I think we just need to focus on what we have been working on all preseason and we should be fine for our game [on Wednesday],” he said. “Coach did a great job preparing us this preseason.”

Poyle maintained his offensive momentum and managed to rack up 17 points to complement his two assists. Senior Jesse Neugarten and Cohen also contributed to the Yeomen’s offensive, each adding nine points to lead the Yeomen to victory.

With the second win, the Yeomen advance to 2–1 overall. After a short break, the team will take on Hiram College next Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m in Philips gym.