GREENCASTLE, IND.-Wabash beat DePauw 67-64 at Neal Fieldhouse and at the same time sent a message to the rest of the conference that the Little Giants are a team to be reckoned with for some time to come.
DePauw played hard in the game, but only led in the opening four minutes. The Tigers trailed by as many as 15 in the second half and cut the lead to as few as three points in the waning minutes but could never quite get over the hump.
All-American candidate Ryan Hooker (Sr., Rensselaer, Ind./Rensselaer Central), while only four of 18 from the floor, still scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds. But while Hooker was going nine of 11 from the charity stripe, the rest of the team clanked to only four of 13, and DePauw shot only 50 percent for the contest.
Leading Wabash was solid sophomore Chad Tabor (New Castle, Ind./New Castle Chrysler), who at 6-feet 5-inches and 190 pounds, can do it all. He had 23 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. Big Little Giant 6-foot 8-inch, 245-pound Eric Jaryszak (Jr., Lowell, Ind./ Hammond) scored all of his 12 points and grabbed 11 of his 12 rebounds in the second half.
For DePauw, Jason Kreag (Sr., Granger, Ind./Penn) and Brad Stevens (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) had strong efforts, with 13 and 10 points respectively. Senior Matt Bowers (Granville, Ohio/Granville) had eight points and a career-high 12 rebounds, and Craig Stewart (Jr., New Albany, Floyd Central) had nine points.
Both sides played with maximum effort and intensity and left everything on the court. But in the end, Wabash just shot the ball better than the Tigers, who struggled to only 32 percent from the floor in the first half and 40 percent for the game.
Put those numbers together with the horrible free-throw shooting, and it took a statistical anomaly 20 of DePauw's 40 rebounds were off the offensive glass for the Tigers to have had a chance down the stretch.
But at the end, the best the DePauw Winter Term crowd could muster in response to the Little Giant faithful's "Wabash always fights!" was "We've got the Bell!"
Wabash moved to 2-1 in the conference and 13-2 overall, its best start since the 1924-25 team. DePauw evened its conference record at 2-2 and fell to 9-7 overall.
DePauw travels to Hanover on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.