By: Sean Neidig, sports information graduate assistant
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – After trailing by as many as 10 points in the second half, Capital University Men's Basketball (2-1) was able to battle its way back and take several leads in a back-and-forth contest with Wittenberg University (3-0) on Tuesday night, but the Tigers got the last laugh and nailed a last-second game winner to hand Capital its first loss of the season, 79-77.
With 1:12 left to play in the game and Capital trailing 76-74, junior guard Joey Weingartner (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) nailed a three-pointer to give the Crusaders a one-point lead. The Crusaders then made a defensive stand but were unable to convert on offense themselves. On the ensuing Wittenberg possession, Jacob Bertemes was fouled and tied the game at 77 by hitting one of his two free throws. On Capital's final possession of the game, the Crusaders turned it over and the Tigers called a timeout. On the inbounds pass, Bertemes broke free and was able to lay the ball in as the final buzzer sounded. Bertemes finished with 13 points.
The game was a tight affair throughout, with 10 ties and 12 lead changes. The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start but just several minutes later, Capital found itself leading 9-6. The teams went back and forth for the first 20 minutes, with Capital achieving its largest lead of the game of five points with five minutes until the half, although Wittenberg went into halftime up 10.
The see-sawing action continued in the second and Capital came out on a 13-2 run to take a 51-50 lead. Junior guard Austin Schreck (Erlanger, Ky./Dixie Heights) scored five of those points and Auble scored four. The advantage was short-lived, though, and Wittenberg clawed its way to a 64-56 advantage with 11:24 remaining. The Crusaders scored 10 unanswered to pull ahead by two and the team's traded blows from there with neither side leading by more than five the rest of the way.
Capital's lead was five with five minutes to play after Schreck hit a pair of free throws but Wittenberg went on an 8-0 spree to take a 75-72 lead. Schreck nailed another shot to pull Cap within one and then Weingartner gave the Crusaders the lead before Bertemes ended it.
Schreck ended the game with 25 points to lead the Crusaders and grabbed five rebounds and snagged three steals. Bertemes and Chad Roy led the Tigers with 13 apiece. Cox scored 15 points and he led Capital with six boards.
As a team, Capital shot 52.6 percent from the field and but were only 3-17 on three-pointers. The Crusaders went 14-15 from the free throw line. Wittenberg outrebounded Capital by six and had a 34-10 advantage in bench points.
The Crusaders will try to get back to their winning ways this Sunday when they take on Ohio Wesleyan University at Otterbein University in their second game of the OAC/NCAC Challenge. That game will tip off at 2 p.m. and admission is free with the donation of a canned food item.