GAMBIER, Ohio – The Kenyon College men’s basketball team was never far behind Wabash College on Wednesday night, but the Owls could not close the gap down the stretch against the North Coast Athletic Conference’s first-place Little Giants, falling in a close contest 74-64.
Gefen Bar-Cohen and Anthony Testa were tied atop the Kenyon (3-15, 3-8 NCAC) stat sheet, each scoring 15 points while Charlie Heywood and Nick Nelson, who scored 11 and 12 points respectively, contributed to a solid night offensively for the Owls, as four scorers reached double figures for just the second time this season.
Bar-Cohen led the first-half effort for Kenyon with 11 points, an impressive feat going up against a Wabash (13-8, 9-3 NCAC) defense that currently leads the NCAC in average points per game. The junior went coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound to give the Owls an early lead with five minutes gone in the first.
In the half, the Owls’ defense stood tall and held the Little Giants to 38.7% from the field and controlled the boards as well, generating a 21-16 rebound advantage in the first led by Bar-Cohen with 5. With 20 minutes gone, Kenyon trailed 27-31.
After halftime, Kenyon found an advantage in the paint, reaching a 24-12 edge in points in the purple, letting Heywood and others hit their stride. The freshman center led the team with eight second-half points, part of a career-high 12-point outing. Nelson also made good use of the paint mismatch, scoring five second-half points down low and turning in a career-high six assists.
Testa led the Owls from three-point land, nailing a deep three with just over 11 minutes left in the contest to cut the Wabash lead to seven at 49-42. The senior would go on to hit five threes in the game at a 62.5 percent clip, hitting a season-high in points in the process.
Despite Kenyon’s success from up close and from deep, Wabash never faltered and had a very efficient second half, particularly on the offensive glass and from the charity stripe. The Little Giants garnished a 9-2 offensive rebound advantage in the half and had 16 second-chance points as a result.
From the free-throw line, despite only making four trips in the first half, Wabash hit 15-21 (71 percent) in the second, never truly letting the Owls back into the contest, and closing the game up 74-64.
The loss drops the Owls’ season record to 5-15 and 3-8 in the NCAC. Kenyon is back in action on Saturday, February 3rd as the squad takes The College of Wooster Fighting Scots at 4:00 PM from Wooster, Ohio in another NCAC contest.