The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team defeated Wabash on Wednesday night and Denison on Saturday afternoon to secure third place in the North Coast Athletic Conference and end the regular season.
This also secured a first round home game in the NCAC tournament on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Hiram.
At Wabash on Wednesday night, the Bishops won in double overtime. With 41 seconds left in the second overtime, junior point guard Andy Winters made a 3-pointer to put the Bishops up 81-79.
After a Wabash miss, senior guard Tim Brady was fouled and made a foul shot, putting OWU in the lead by 3 points.
Wabash was then fouled on a 3-pointer, but the last free throw was missed, ending the game with a final score of 82-81, the Bishops on top.
At halftime, Ohio Wesleyan had been up 32-22 against Wabash. However, Wabash was able to fight back in the second half to force the game into two overtimes.
Winters said the team needs to keep playing every possession as hard as they can during the second half.
“We need to keep attacking offensively and not worry about our first half leads,” Winters said.
Brady said, “We just need to continue to play hard for all 40 minutes, not for just one half or for most of the game.”
Coach Mike DeWitt said he hoped winning a tough game against Wabash would give the team confidence as the regular season finishes.
“Our mentality in the overtimes at Wabash was one of determination and perseverance,” DeWitt said. “We overcame some mental mistakes and poor decisions and beat a good team.”
Winters said the team worked together to win.
“Everyone contributed at an important time during the game and it has created more confidence because we beat a very good Wabash team,” Winters said.
In the final game of the regular season on Saturday against Denison, the Bishops won a game that was back and forth the whole time.
While Denison led 35-31 with only two minutes remaining in the first half, the Bishops were able to go into halftime with a 4-point lead.
Brady made some critical 3-pointers in the game, as he went 6-8 from the 3-point line and totaled 32 points for the entire game.
In the last minute of the game, the Bishops were able to hit seven free throws to seal a victory with a final score of 83-77.
DeWitt, Winters and junior forward Marshall Morris all used the word “persevere” to describe the wins against Denison and Wabash.
“In the end, we made just enough plays to beat a very good team,” DeWitt said. “We just kept coming up with a big possession.”
“We are beginning to develop a refuse-to-lose mentality,” Morris said.
Saturday was senior night, as Brady and senior forward Danny Flanegan were honored at the start of the game along with the senior members of the cheerleading squad.
“It felt great to win my last regular season game at home,” Brady said. “It’s hard to believe that was my last regular season game, but I have really enjoyed playing in Branch Rickey Arena for my four years here and winning on Saturday was a great way to cap it off.”
With those wins, the Bishops finish their regular season with a record of 19-6 and a conference record of 11-5.
This is one of the best records the OWU men’s basketball team has finished the regular season with since the 1988 season when the team went on to win the NCAA Division III championship.
“To win back-to-back tough games going into possibly both tournaments (the NCAC and NCAA) is big because I feel we are playing with some momentum,” Brady said. “Hopefully, we will catch fire and play our best basketball here these coming weeks.”