Classic closes with Whitman win in instant classic

Austin Butler throws one down
Austin Butler throws down a slam dunk in Whitman's win vs. Ohio Wesleyan.
Photo by Larry Radloff,

No. 1 Whitman and No. 14 Ohio Wesleyan had a heavyweight battle that would have been the toast of any tournament, whether in December or March, while Augsburg registered an upset and UC Santa Cruz got out with a split on the final day of the 2017 Classic.

Ohio Wesleyan started off Saturday's game just as it did on Thursday, lighting it up from 3-point range. But the Battling Bishops' impressive 12-for-21 performance did not continue into the second half, and when OWU cooled off, Whitman heated up. The top-ranked Blues trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half.

However, Whitman worked its way back into the game as Tim Howell scored 12 points in the second half and Joey Hewitt poured in 14, including a tip-in, followed by a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to give the Blues their first lead, 87-86, with 3:24 left. Ohio Wesleyan (9-2) got the lead back on a pair of free throws from Nate Axelrod, but Howell hit a jumper on the next trip down the floor. Austin Butler blocked a shot and Tim Howell rebounded it and scored for a 91-88 lead. Seth Clark hit a layup with just under 8 seconds left, but the Battling Bishops could not take advantage of Whitman's missed free throw, as they were unable to inbound the ball. A final shot did not fall and Whitman (11-0) finished with a 92-90 win.

OWU was 2-for-19 from beyond the arc in the second half. Axelrod led all scorers with 24 points, added a tournament-record 11 assists and finished one rebound shy of a triple-double. Seth Clark added 19 points for Ohio Wesleyan. Hewitt, the Most Outstanding Player of the Classic, had 23 points and a game-high five steals for Whitman, while Howell added 21 points.

Recap continues below game broadcast archive:

Earlier, Augsburg provided the day's upset, as the Auggies knocked off No. 13 Wartburg 68-64. Collin Olmscheid scored a team-high 18 points, including hitting a game-tying 3-pointer with 53 seconds left. Chany Pal added a layup with 10 seconds left and Wartburg's attempted game-winner was off the mark, allowing Pal to close the game with two more free throws. Sawyer Herman and Jaran Sabus scored 23 apiece to lead the Knights (9-2).

Central finished its tournament 2-0 as the Dutch again lit it up from 3-point range, hitting 12 from beyond the arc in a 71-48 win vs. Pacific Lutheran. Eleven players scored for Central (5-7), including Kyle Smith and Luke Finley with 12 apiece. 

UC Santa Cruz started off the day hot from 3-point range, as the Banana Slugs rained down a tournament-record 12 baskets from 3-point range in a 71-51 win vs. Hamline. The Pipers (2-9) led early, but UCSC rallied with a huge second and third quarter. Kim Tom led all scorers with 24 points for UCSC (3-9), while Kate Young added 23 on 6-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Reilly Geistfeld led Hamline with 15 points and eight rebounds.

UW-Stout trailed after the first period, turned up the defensive pressure in the second and third periods to take the lead, then had to hold off Occidental in the final minutes in a 60-54 win. Bailey Diersen led all scorers with 14 points and Kyncaide Diedrich contributed 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and six steals. Amber Fabeck led Stout off the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds, including 10 defensive boards.

Women's All-Tournament Team
Hannah Fox, Amherst, Most Outstanding Player
Triana Anderson, Occidental
Kyncade Diedrich, UW-Stout
Reilly Geistfeld, Hamline
Hayley Martin, Trine
Kim Tom, UC Santa Cruz
Men's All-Tournament Team
Joey Hewitt, Whitman, Most Outstanding Player
Nate Axelrod, Ohio Wesleyan
Thomas Bonacum, Ramapo
MJ Delmore, UW-Stevens Point
Markus Glenn, Pacific Lutheran
Jaran Sabus, Wartburg
Kyle Smith, Central
Harry Sonie, Augsburg
Tanner Zaeske, Carroll