Tigers rally for win over Spartans
NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. - Mike Howland's three-pointer with 6.1 seconds left and Joe Nixon's free throw with 5.1 seconds remaining lifted the Tigers to a 68-67 victory over host Manchester. Both teams are 2-1 following the game.
The four points in the final six seconds were just part of a wacky ending to the hard-fought game. Howland's three came under tough defensive pressure that also resulted in a foul on the play.
Howland's free throw failed to reach the basket and Manchester was awarded the ball out-of-bounds, underneath the Tigers' basket. On the inbounds play, Manchester's Marc Patterson ran the baseline which resulted in a turnover.
Carson Harris was then whistled for a foul on Nixon who missed the first free throw, but hit the second to make it 68-67. Harris then took the ball the length of the court and missed a layup. Patterson's put-back was off the mark and the Tigers celebrated the come-from-behind win.
"I thought we played hard for 40 minutes," DePauw head coach Bill Fenlon said. We gave ourselves a chance at the end and had to get a break."
Howland's bucket wasn't even the first or second option on the play according to Fenlon.
"We thought we had Steiner with a good look at a three, but the pass was fumbled. Then we set up a clear out for Nixon to get two and then foul. Howland really came through with a tough shot."
DePauw trailed 65-55 after a pair of free throws by Harris at the 2:55 mark. The Tigers then began a 13-2 run on Howland's three-pointer with 2:48 left. Joe Ringger then blocked Jeremy Neely's jumper, grabbed the rebound and drove the length of the floor to make it 65-60 with 2:09 remaining.
Jeremy Bettis cut the margin to three with a pair of free throws at the 1:42 mark. Harris missed on the other end, but Yul Lee grabbed the rebound and was fouled. His two free throws pushed the Spartans' lead to 67-62 with 1:15 remaining.
A DePauw turnover gave the ball back to Manchester, but midcourt defensive pressure from Ringger and Bob Steiner forced Neely into a turnover and gave the Tigers the ball with 34 seconds left and set up DePauw's game-tying possession.
DePauw led briefly early in the first half and trailed by seven at halftime. Manchester's lead reached as many as 11 points on three occasions during the second half.
Fenlon also praised the team for winning a close game on the road.
"We identified our poor play on the road as something we needed to conquer this year. We did that today."
Four of the Tigers' six road losses last year came by a total of 18 points and a fifth was in overtime. Last weekend the Tigers fell by three at eighth-ranked Chicago.
"We were much better defensively than the last time out," Fenlon said in reference to the 84 points allowed to Chicago. "You have to play well defensively especially when you're not shooting well.
Ringger led the Tigers with 20 points, while Nixon chipped in 13 and Bettis 12. Lee led Manchester with 17. The Tigers outrebounded the Spartans 43-25 with Matt Kleymeyer grabbing eight including six on the offensive boards.
The Tigers host Wabash on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the 179th meeting between the two schools.