CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Coming off of a big win in the team’s first conference matchup against DePauw on Saturday, the Kenyon College Owls men’s basketball team started hot at Chadwick Court against the Wabash College Little Giants, but could not seal the deal down the stretch, falling 50-76.
Sophomore guard Nick Nelson led the Owls offensively tonight and continued his great stretch of basketball with a team-high 14 points, his fifth straight game in double figures, building on the longest streak of his career for Kenyon and ranking second on the team in points.
The 7-2 charge from Kenyon (1-8, 1-1 NCAC) to start the game was led by the Owls leading scorer Gefen Bar-Cohen, who drove to the hoop and tossed in two layups while Murathan Kocaman drained a three to give Kenyon the early edge in against a Little Giants team which achieved an impressive 11-5 conference record last season en route to a 2023 NCAC Conference Tournament Championship win.
After Kenyon flew ahead four minutes into the game, the championship-caliber offense for Wabash (7-2, 3-0 NCAC) woke up and rattled off a 25-6 run, fueled in part by five made threes from Vinny Buccilla, part of a 26-point effort from the junior guard to set the score at 27-13.
Not discouraged, the Owls battled back after Nelson led a 10-3 run and made six straight points for Kenyon, while Dylan Fuerst and Peter Haas added buckets of their own to cut the deficit to 23-30 with four minutes to play in the half.
Wabash’s defense responded by holding the Owls to just two points in those final four minutes, registering two blocks and forcing two turnovers on the way to a 41-25 lead at the half.
Out of the break, Wabash kept Kenyon at a distance, building an 18-point lead at the ten-minute mark of the period 38-56. Nelson and Fuerst led the offensive effort for the Owls midway through the second, combining for ten points.
Down the stretch, Kenyon went cold from the field and especially beyond the arc, and Wabash capitalized on the dry spell to construct its largest advantage of the contest. For the second half, the Owls went a combined 8-31 from the field (25.8 percent) and began to fall behind.
Nelson ended the game with 14 points while going 6-11 from the field and sinking his lone three-pointer. Bar-Cohen added nine points and led the Owls with eight rebounds, and Fuerst chipped in six points, three rebounds, and tied a game-high three steals.
The loss drops Kenyon’s record to 1-8 on the season (1-1 NCAC). The Owls stay on the road for its next matchup on Saturday, December 9th at 2:00 pm for an afternoon meeting with the Hiram College Terriers.