Bishops’ late comeback falls short

By Peter Lujan

Transcript Correspondent

The game appeared to be spiraling out of control halfway through the first half for Ohio Wesleyan’s men in their basketball matchup against Wabash College Wednesday night.

The Bishops’ trailed the Little Giants of Wabash 24-7, but they stepped up the pace before the half ended and also in the second half. Although it was close at the end, it still wasn’t enough and OWU lost in Branch Rickey Arena with a final score of 80-77.

Senior guard Jaret Gerber led the way for the Bishops, scoring 17 points on the strength of five three-pointers.

The poor start was partially due to the Bishops’ shooting 5 of 22 from the 3-point range in the first half. That shot eluded the Bishops as they finished the game shooting 11 of 44 from 3-point range.

“Our offense is very high volume, we take a lot of shots, we shoot a lot of threes.  Some nights, it’s just not going in,” said freshman guard Jack Clement.

During the second half, Gerber and Clement created momentum after trailing at the half, 37-31. A layup by Clement tied the game at 39 after a quick 8-2 run to start the second half.

“When we’re out there running, when we’re getting up and down, that’s when we’re at our best,” Clement said.

The Bishops’ and Little Giants’ battled for the rest of the game, but Wabash was able to maintain a double-digit lead for the most part. Freshman point guard Bryson Lane hit some very important shots down the stretch, scoring 11 points in the second half.

The Bishops relied on the strength of their defense and the hot hand of Gerber down the stretch.

“When Gerb gets hot, he gets hot,” Clement said.

Gerber knocked down three triples. The Bishops’ aggressive play brought the team within one point with 14 seconds left, forcing them to foul Tyler Watson of Wabash. Watson nailed both free throws to give the Little Giants’ a 3-point lead with 11 seconds left.

The Bishops’ had one last chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, but a heavily guarded corner three from Lane was no good. Time expired and the Bishops’ had come up just short.

“We drew up a really good play, we just didn’t get open,” Clement said.

The Bishops’ next game is at 3 p.m. Saturday against Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio.

Getting in the groove

By Peter Lujan

Transcript Correspondent

The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team burst from the gate Saturday afternoon, playing with tempo and shooting the lights out in defeating DePauw University 77-55 at Branch Rickey Arena.

The victory extended the Battling Bishops’ winning streak to three. Freshman power forward Grant Spicer led the charge with 16 points and seven rebounds, shooting 77% from the field. Spicer said it was part of the team’s game plan.

“One thing we like to go to is just throwing it into the post,” Spicer said. “Not necessarily even to score all the time, but to just play out of the post.”

It was a different story Jan. 15, when the Bishops struggled in the first half of their last game in Kenyon against Kenyon College, scoring only two points in the first ten minutes of the game. In the first half, the Bishops shot just 62% from the field and 50% from three-point range.

One key for Saturday’s win was to move the ball better and get it from sideline to sideline a couple of times, Spicer said.

“DePauw is a very good defensive team and that’s what you have to do to really good defensive teams like that,” he said.

The long ball was huge for the Bishops Saturday night, with six out of the ten players ringing up three-point field goals. It’s a big part of the team’s offense, said freshman guard Jack Clement.

“Our offense is built around the three point shot, mainly because all five guys who are out there on the floor are able to hit that shot,” Clement said.

Coach Mike DeWitt trusts his players to make those shots because of their chemistry, Spicer said.

“[ He] knows we all have the ability to knock down open shots,” Spicer said. “As soon as somebody gets hot, everyone starts to get into a groove.”

With a focus on pushing the tempo of the game and playing fast, the Bishops ensured DePauw paid for its errors Saturday. The Bishops’ scored 16 points off DePauw’s turnovers while DePauwscored only 2 points off the Bishops’ turnovers.

Clement said the team does agood job of taking care of the ball.

“So we make it a point in our offense to make sure that we capitalize off of turnovers that we do cause,” he said. “So if they make a turnover, we want to make sure that they pay for that, because that’s just a free possession.”

The Bishops will try to extend their winning streak Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball roll past the College of Wooster

By Aleksei Pavloff, Sports Editor

The Ohio Wesleyan University men’s basketball climbed to the top of the NCAC standings with a win against the College of Wooster on Feb. 11.

Senior Ben Simpson and junior Nate Axelrod contributed nearly 50 points combined in the win against the conference rival. In the previous game, when the Bishops played the Scots, the score was 99-76.

The lingering thought of the last time these two teams met motivated the Bishops and the hard work and preparation paid off with the score 81-72.

“We realized that this was a big one with only a few games left,” said sophomore Chris Allocco. “We needed to not make the same mistakes as last time.”

“The main thing we needed to change was our competitiveness,” said Axelrod.

“We just wore them down throughout the game.”

The Scots did not just give in. At the half, the score was Wooster leading 38-30.

That did not faze the team, however. They went from scoring 39.9 percent of their three-point shots in the first half to 52.94 percent.

“Throughout the game, we trusted the process even when we were down,” Axelrod said. “We had faith in each other and we knew we would give them a run for their money.”

At the end of the game, Simpson and Axelrod had stand-out performances and together contributed 49 points, 7 assists and 4 blocks. They also recorded 37 minutes played in the game.

One aspect that influenced the game was the fans or as they should be called the “Sixth Man.”

“The fans are a great help. They really gave us the energy we needed,” said Axelrod.

“The fans were great,” said Allocco. “The combination of senior night and the stakes in the game made the atmosphere that much better.”

There is no looking back. The Bishops are now in the driver’s seat in the NCAC and are looking forward to the possibility of meeting the Fighting Scots one more time. Both Allocco and Axelrod believe that the teams will play again. But only time will tell.

“If things go the way we want, we will definitely play them again,” said Axelrod. “I have no doubt we will come out with the same energy again.”

Men’s basketball back on track after NCAC victory

By Matt Maier, Transcript Reporter

With fall sports wrapping up last week, the winter season is upon us and the men’s basketball team is in full force.

Opening their season with a game against Albion College Nov. 18, the Battling Bishops won 91-77 with help from players like Ben Simpson and Will Orr. Simpson led the Bishops with 21 points.

“The main thing that I do is watch film and determine how I can exploit my matchup,” Simpson said. “I love determining what I can do as a player to get the whole team involved as well.”

A day later, the Bishops played Trine University and won 79-72. This time, it was Orr who led the Bishops with 21 points, making seven of his 13 attempts from long range.

“I really just get my body ready mentally and physically,” Orr said.

“During pre-game, I shoot and make sure that I am knocking down my shots.”

Since the Trine game, the Bishops hit a three-game losing streak, losing to opponents like Capital, Illinois Wesleyan and Otterbein.

Against Capital, the men’s team lost 76-82; against Illinois Wesleyan, they lost 70-88 and against Otterbein, the men’s team fell short 66-72. But coach Mike DeWitt said he is optimistic about the future.

“Right now we just need to trust the process and trust each other,” DeWitt said. “If we can do that, we’ll get better as the season progresses and be a good team.”

Orr said, “I think we just need to remain a family, continue to trust each other and all use a boost of confidence to get through this.”

The Bishops beat DePauw in a close game with a score of 84-71 on Dec. 3. In this game, it was Simpson who led the team with 25 points.

Men’s basketball shaping to be ‘one of the best in OWU history’

Senior Zak Davis goes for the shot. Photo by Leia Miza.
Senior Zak Davis goes for the shot. Photo by Leia Miza.

Areena Arora, Managing Editor

On Tuesday, Ohio Wesleyan hosted the quarter final match-up for the North Coast Atlantic Conference tournament at the Branch Rickey Arena, and defeated visiting Wabash College.

With a minute and half remaining, amidst a crowd of over 300 in attendance, the score was 97- 75 in favor of OWU, ultimately ending with a 100-80 win for the Bishops.

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Dewitt said, “It’s a really good win for us…it’s nice to be able to still play this weekend.”

Wabash began with a 11-4 lead but toward the end of first half, OWU had a lead of 57-42.

“It’s one of the best seasons in school history and we just hope we can continue that as long as we can,” Dewitt said.

Kyle Brumett, head basketball coach at Wabash said, “(OWU) is really good. We’ve had success at times against them because they haven’t shot it as well as they have shot tonight. (OWU’s) game plan is out of the window, definitely and that’s why they are 1st place and we’re 8th.”

Sophomore Shooting Guard William Orr said, “This is the best group of players I’ve played with. We know the rules, we know what we need to know to win and that’s what we did tonight.”

According to the Battling Bishops website, the NCAC tournament semifinals and championship game will be held at OWU on Friday and Saturday. In the first semifinal, Hiram College will play against College of Wooster, followed by the second semifinal between Denison University and OWU.

Mixed results for OWU’s basketball teams

Leia Miza, Transcript Reporter

A bittersweet note was left at Branch Rickey Stadium on Jan. 24  as Ohio Wesleyan University’s women’s team was defeated and the men’s team triumphed over Denison University.

The women’s team went first against Denison and kept the score close throughout.

By the end of the game, the team faced challenges, which resulted in a loss.

“I was pleased with our rebounding effort in the first half, but they just wore us down in the fourth quarter,” said Stacey Lobdell, coach of the women’s team at OWU.

Rylie Pittard, a freshman on the women’s team, said, “throughout the game it was pretty even for both teams, we would score and then they would counter it.”

The players forced 21 turnovers and 13 steals, but the defensive effort still resulted in a 58-42 loss for the Battling Bishops.

The Ohio Wesleyan men's basketball team beat Denison, 82-76, this past Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sara Blake.
The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team beat Denison, 82-76, this past Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sara Blake.

Immediately after the women clashed, the OWU men’s basketball team came onto the court and began warming up. The stands filled with more fans and foot-stomping and chanting filled the stadium.

The scores between both teams remained close throughout the first half. But near the end of the game, there was a major turning point.

“The team went down by seven points with five minutes left in the game and we went on scoring run, took the lead and won the game,” said senior team captain Claude Gray.

This was a good test for the team as it gave it a chance to “show we have heart,” Gray said.

“I was just glad me and the team could pull together and do the things needed to be done to win the game. I’m looking forward to seeing the team keep improving.”

Anything but a break

Claude Gray. Photo courtesy of the Battling Bishops website.
OWU basketball player Claude Gray. Photo courtesy of the Battling Bishops website.

Thanksgiving break is a time for students to unwind with family, eat unhealthy amounts of pumpkin pie and see high school friends. For most students that means going home. For others, it means staying on campus to sweat and work hard with teammates.

The Ohio Wesleyan University men’s and women’s basketball and swimming teams put in extra practice time for games over break, making Thanksgiving anything but a break.

The swim teams competed Nov. 21 and 22 in the Corbiere­-Merion Invitational where the men finished second of five and the women first.

OWU men’s basketball had three games over break. Between games and practice, the players were busy. Sophomore Will Orr believes the break brings the team closer together.

“It is a little weird to be on a college campus with only your team there, but it’s also kind of nice that it’s only your teammates on campus. It brings us together as a team.”

“It is not required to stay on campus if you live close enough, but it’s not worth it to go home everyday,” Orr said. “Usually everyone just stays on campus until we get a little break.”

Women’s basketball played Nov. 21 in Holland, Michigan, and Nov. 24 back in Delaware. For sophomore Kayla Richard, being on campus over break has both positives and negatives.

“I am pretty sure I am the only person left on my floor, and being in my room without my three roommates is really weird,” Richard said. “I miss coming back to our room and getting to talk about our days.”

The team plans activities to make the break more enjoyable and relaxing for everyone.

“The team eats the majority of our meals together, we went to go see Mockingjay Part 2 and we are are volunteering at FEED Delaware. We thought it would be a great idea to do good and give back to those who are less fortunate to remind us of all that we should be thankful for.”

Bishop Ballers back in action

By: Ross Hickenbottom, Transcript Correspondent

NCAA basketball is back, ladies and gentlemen, and the Ohio Wesleyan University men’s and women’s basketball teams are ready to tip it off the right way.

The men’s team, led by NCAC Freshman of the Year Nate Axelrod, now a sophomore, looks to repeat as NCAC champions and improve from last season, where they went 22­6, 16­2 in the conference. After a heartbreaking loss in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to St. Olaf College, an appearance in the 2016 tournament is on their to­do list, along with bringing another conference championship back to OWU.

Axelrod, who averaged 16.2 points a game last season, looks to improve his personal play, as well as team chemistry to contribute to the hopeful upcoming season.

“I think we all have high expectations for ourselves this year, considering our success last season and how much we’re returning,” Axelrod said.

As far as returning players go, the Bishops have an abundance of talent returning to the squad from the 2014 season, including senior Claude Grey, who led the team in scoring and junior Ben Simpson, key defensive contribution to the effort, who led the team in rebounds, steals and blocks last season.

“We should be very successful this year, much like last year,” Simpson said, “however, we definitely have a target on our back this year.”

“We’re a big game on everyone’s schedule this year,” Simpson added.

The women’s team returns from a 15­-13 season, 9­7 in the conference, which is not ideal for their level of plays. After being knocked out of the NCAC tournament by Wittenberg University, the ladies’ season was over in a bitter fashion.

On top of that, after graduating, five seniors, including LaNiece McRae and Sarah McQuade, who led the Bishops last year in multiple categories, the younger, less experienced players will have to boost their contribution to the team this year in order to achieve success.

Junior Taylor Dickson believes the underclassmen will do just that.

“We definitely have a strong, promising underclassmen presence on our team this year. Our newcomers worked extremely hard over the summer and have proved since stepping on campus that they have the drive and work ethic to get better and compete at this level,” she said.

Dickson, who played in all 28 games last year will look to contribute a lot to the team’s winning

effort, along with junior Megan Kuether, and the two seniors of the team, Kelly Still and Hanna Fedorka. Dickson, Kuether, Fedorka and Still are the only returning players with varsity letters, so this year’s success will rely heavily on the contribution from the younger, more inexperienced players.

Well­wishers will fill the Edwards Gymnasium this year, in hopes that not one but both of the OWU basketball teams will see their hard work come to fruition.

Senior spotlight: 3-point sharp-shooter

Senior Nick Felhaber. Photo courtesy of
Senior Nick Felhaber. Photo courtesy of

Coming from a family of college basketball players, an Ohio Wesleyan senior was destined to continue on the tradition.

Nick Felhaber, the only senior on the team, has been through a lot in his time wearing the black and red jersey, including injuries, conference championships and NCAA tournament runs.

However, he did not have OWU on his college radar until an assistant coach saw him play at one of his high school games at Toledo St. Johns.

“I had a pretty good game the day he was there and afterwards we talked,” Felhaber said. “I ended up applying, liking the school and wanted to play basketball four more years.”

Halfway through his sophomore year, Felhaber broke his foot. And just two weeks after his junior season ended, he broke it again.

During that time, he chose to focus on improving different aspects of his game he could control.

“I had to be a little smarter and focus on things I knew I could do. Like ball handling, watching film and shooting,” said Felhaber.

Shooting cannot be emphasized enough. Felhaber made 95 three pointers this season, including breaking a single-game OWU record of nine against Calvin on November 22. However, the record would not stand for long. He increased it to 10 two months later against Oberlin College.

To put 95 three pointers in perspective, that’s only 12 shy of the amount made by the whole Kenyon squad this season.

Felhaber playing against DePauw in February. Photo courtesy of
Felhaber playing against DePauw in February. Photo courtesy of

As Felhaber enjoyed individual success, the team also prospered. Although being picked to finish fourth in the pre-season poll and were thought to be not much of a threat, the Bishops, led by Felhaber, started the season 7-0.

“It was one of those years where we came out of nowhere,” Felhaber said. “Everyone said we were going to be rebuilding and we came out in the first week of the season and beat the sixth ranked team in the country.”

The team won the NCAC regular season, finishing with a 21-5 record entering postseason play.  After fighting back from injuries and leading the team during his last year, the title will always stick out for Felhaber.

“That was a huge moment for us. And that was one of the big ones for me personally.”

“It was just a great year and a lot of fun. I was very fortunate to have some great teammates and coaches.”

His teammates were fortunate to have him as well. Junior Joey Kinsely has been a part of the team the last three years with Felhaber.

“We all look toward (Felhaber) during practice, in games and in the classroom, and he’s always giving it his all and going 100 percent,” Kinsley said. “Everyone wants to be on a team with people like that, he’s a great guy and will be missed.”

Empty bleachers despite success

Men's basketball team in a huddle. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.
The men’s basketball team huddles in front of a small audience. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.


The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team received one of the 19 at-large bids to the NCAA tournament Monday.

The team will face St. Olaf in the first round on Friday in Whitewater, Wisconsin.  If victorious, a matchup with the defending champions, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is likely for Saturday.


Last week the Duke University vs. Syracuse University game recorded the largest on-campus crowd in college basketball history at 35,446.

The Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team has a 20-4 record and captured the NCAC crown after being picked to finish fourth in the pre-season poll. The team is ready to host the conference tournament at Branch Rickey Arena.

But sometimes home court advantage doesn’t mean a packed house of yelling and screaming fans. OWU has averaged just over 600 people in attendance this season at their games, not quite 35,446.

Students are involved in all aspects of the OWU campus, and with classwork on top of it, they often don’t make it to sporting events, despite free admission and conference championships.

“The students here have so much going on,” Athletic Director Roger Ingles said. “Wednesday nights are tough. Just the other night we had a speaker with about 200 people at it. Students have classes and a lot of responsibilities on weekdays.”

The student section in Branch Rickey Arena has the potential to make OWU’s court a very difficult place for opponents to play, and has in some cases.

“Some of the bigger games against Wooster or Wittenberg, we can put about 100 students in there and it doesn’t look like a lot, but it’s about 5 percent of the student body,” Ingles said. “That same 5 percent at Ohio State University is 3,000 people.”

He’s right.  OSU’s enrollment is 57,466 and 5 percent is about 2,800. OWU’s enrollment is 1,850 and 5 percent is about 90.

It’s not just students that are busy. Some faculty members are consistently seen at sporting events throughout the year, but it is very rare to see a large number in attendance.

“Faculty have so much going on too, especially the ones that don’t live right in town. It’s hard for them to go home and then go through traffic to try to get back for the games,” Ingles said.

The men's basketball team plays below mostly empty bleachers. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.
The men’s basketball team plays below mostly empty bleachers. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.

The Student Homecoming Organization (SHO) is in charge of promoting the games to the OWU community. They have created “Red Alert” games, which are usually reserved for rivalries, to attract more people.

“For every sport team we host a red alert game that we promote on social media and with flyers,” SHO Vice President Brittany Spicer said. “We also try to either have a tailgate or theme for at least a few games each year to try to bring out the community and get them more involved.”

With crucial games approaching, the team is getting ready to make a deep run into post-season play. They certainly have the potential based on their record and success this season. Large crowds and support among the OWU community would make this tournament journey that much more successful.

“We have worked really hard to put ourselves in this moment,” junior forward Joey Kinsley said. “We feed off the energy of our students and to pack Branch Rickey would be special.”