LIMA – This year’s University of Northwestern Ohio men’s basketball team has many weapons.
In Monday’s nonconference game with visiting Wilberforce University, UNOH got it done several different ways, en route to a 90-80 victory over the Bulldogs.
In the first half, Ed Jenkins (5-foot-8 guard) carried the load for the Racers (8-4), scoring 27 of his game-high 34 points in the first 20 minutes. Jenkins was 8-of-11 shooting from the field in the first half, including 5-of-7 from behind the arc. He ended the game 10-of-17 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Jenkins also dished out six assists and made seven steals.
In the second half, UNOH went inside more, as Derrick Tate (6-5, forward) scored 10 of his 14 total points in the second half. Tate also came away with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Johnny Elliot, the backcourt mate of Jenkins, scored 19 points and dished out four assists.
Jenkins said there are times when he realizes he needs to take the game over.
“I’m that kind of player that can spark at any given time. I feed off my teammates. But, sometimes when it’s not clicking for my teammates, that’s when I step up and make big plays,” Jenkins said.
Wilberforce kept the game close, early on. However, the Racers got it going later in the first half, closing out the half strong to take a 50-36 lead into the halftime break. UNOH forced Wilberforce into 10 first-half turnovers, which led to several fast-break baskets for the Racers.
In the second half, UNOH made several runs. But each time the Racers went on a run, the Bulldogs answered. Wilberforce cut the deficit to six, on three occasions. UNOH’s lead was cut to four, 61-57, with 12:30 remaining to play.
Down the stretch, both teams went to the free throw line often. In the second half, UNOH was 12-of-18 from the free throw line. Wilberforce made 12-of-16 from the charity stripe in the second half.
For the game, both teams shot 46 percent from the floor.
“The first half by Ed Jenkins was probably one of the best first-half performances by any of the players I’ve ever had in my coaching career,” UNOH coach Chris Adams said. “He was doing it, not only by scoring, but he was making plays, defensively. He even rebounded in a crowd a couple of times. I just thought he had a first half that was something to cherish.
“With the guard play of Jenkins and Elliott, then Josh Scott (Defiance) coming in and giving us good minutes, and then having Derrick Tate inside, we get that outside/inside power. That’s really helped us this year.”
Cameron Luckett led Wilberforce (3-11) with 22 points, including four 3-pointers. Patrick Mitchell scored 17 points and had four assists. DeVontae Berry scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Kyree Marshall added 11 points for the Bulldogs.
“I really like this team and I’m proud of the guys,” Adams said. “It’s really going well for us right now and we have to just keep it going. This is a good way for us to play toward the end of the year.”
WOMEN – WILBERFORCE 84, UNOH 65
In the opener on Monday, the UNOH women got down early and never fully recovered as Wilberforce pulled away for the convincing win.
The Racers (7-5) shot 39 percent from the floor and committed 19 turnovers.
Natalie Billing led UNOH with 19 points and five rebounds. Lauren Hopfner scored 16 points and dished out five assists. Sammi Dervisevic (Shawnee) added 12 points for the Racers.
UNOH was down 41-31 at the break. However, in the second half, the Bulldogs got out quickly and extended its lead to 64-44, midway through the half.
Danisha Brown led Wilberforce (3-11) with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Cortland Mullins scored 16 points, including 10-of-10 shooting at the free throw line.
“Out of our seven wins, we’ve been behind five of those seven wins,” UNOH women’s coach Kyle Menchhofer said. “We just can’t get out of the chute. We get down the first half, and then we scramble and play hard in the second half. We can’t do that every time and expect to win.”
UNOH won the battle on the boards, 47-34. At the free throw line, Wilberforce was a perfect 21-of-21, while UNOH was 13-of-21 from the stripe.
‘We didn’t come ready to play, bottom line,” Menchhofer said. “Out of the nine girls who played, nobody came ready to play.”