Wednesday: Bringing their A game

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Darin Ketner scored 13 points for Averett and the Cougars improved to 5-0 against the ODAC.
Photo by David Conner II, Averett athletics

Averett continued its impressive start by knocking off another ODAC foe and Augustana opened conference play with a win over North Central. Elsewhere Transylvania trounced HCAC favorite Hanover and the Muhlenberg women rallied past Haverford.

Averett finished the non-conference portion of its schedule by beating Virginia Wesleyan 63-59 and improving to 5-0 against ODAC opponents. Averett (5-1) fell behind the Marlins 8-1 early but the Cougars steadied themselves and scored 21 of the next 27 points. The Cougars maintained that lead into the second half until Lamont Steward scored back-to-back baskets to pull Virginia Wesleyan (7-1) within two at 61-59 with 1:25 to play. After an Averett turnover and a Virginia Wesleyan missed shot, Averett grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Montre' Cash made both free throws with 27 seconds left to seal the victory. Box score

Ketner and Cash scored double figures for Averett while Steward posted a double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds) for the Marlins.

No. 4 Augustana rebounded from its double-overtime loss on Saturday to open CCIW play with an impressive 79-71 win over North Central (Ill.). Augustana hit three straight three pointers as part of an 11-0 run midway through the first half that gave the Vikings the lead for good. Chrishawn Orange had 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Augustana (5-1, 1-0 CCIW). Connor Raridon scored 20 for the Cardinals (3-3, 1-1 CCIW). Box score

Transylvania stayed unbeaten by blasting Hanover 95-81 in a game that was not as close as the score indicates. Transylvania led 90-66 with less than five minutes remaining before the Panthers' reserves trimmed the deficit to the final 14-point margin. The Pioneers (5-0, 2-0 HCAC) shot 53 percent in the first half (18-for-34), led by Michael Jefferson's 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting. Wes McKinney scored 16 points for Hanover (5-2, 1-1 HCAC). Box score

No. 15 Wartburg beat Loras 98-87 in an early matchup of IIAC title contenders. Nebraska Wesleyan remained the only undefeated team in the conference with a 99-86 victory at Central. 

Franklin and Marshall erased a 15-point halftime deficit and closed out Johns Hopkins 65-59 to keep its perfect record in tact. Brandon Federici (18 points) nearly outscored Johns Hopkins himself in the second half and finished with 30 points on 12-for-18 shooting. Box score

Other teams picked up their first loss of the season. John Carroll will head into Saturday's showdown at Marietta coming off a loss to Mount Union, 87-83. Jimmy Berger was one of five players to score double figures for the Purple Raiders (6-1, 2-0 OAC). D.J. DeValk scored 27 points to lead St. Norbert past Lawrence, 73-59.

In women's action, No. 19 Muhlenberg and St. Thomas picked up wins over conference title contenders.

The Mules beat visiting Haverford 53-51 in a low scoring affair in which both teams shot below 33 percent. Muhlenberg (8-0, 5-0 Centennial) had three starters score double figures and Brandi Vallely again approached a triple-double (19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists), but the Mules reserves scored just five points. Sierra Berkel had nine points and 10 rebounds off the bench for the Fords (6-2, 3-1 Centennial). Box score

Bethel used a 20-2 run to pull even with No. 8 St. Thomas but Lucia Renikoff scored seven points down the stretch and the Tommies held off the Royals 72-65. St. Thomas has won 36 consecutive games in the MIAC and 17 straight games at home. Bethel slipped to 3-4, 0-2 in the conference.

Strong defense helped No. 15 Ohio Northern cruise past Wilmington 65-44 in OAC play. The Polar Bears (6-1, 2-0 OAC) held the Quakers to 32 percent shooting. The story was similar in the CAC where No. 23 Marymount stifled Salisbury, 66-45. Defense is almost always the story for Tufts, and the top-ranked Jumbos shut down WPI in a 63-50 victory. Tufts held WPI to eight points in the first quarter and Erica DeCandido finished one rebounds short of a double-double for Tufts (7-0).

The most exciting finish of the night came in New Jersey where Rutgers-Camden edged Stockton 67-66 in overtime. The Ospreys led Rutgers-Camden 59-56 late in the game when Stockton fouled Gabby Greene while she was attempting a three pointer with one second left. Greene made all three free throws to send the game to overtime and Cara Racobaldo hit a jumper with 1:37 left to lift the Scarlett Raptors to victory. Box score