Balser has turned into a key cog for the No. 3 Tigers (18-0, 11-0). He scored a season-high 23 points Wednesday in a 76-64 victory against DePauw at Pam Evans Smith Arena. He's averaging 12.3 points and leads the team with 43 3-pointers while shooting 43 percent from long range. He ranks fifth in the North Coast Athletic Conference with 3.4 assists per game.
DePauw made a commitment to stopping Wittenberg’s top post players, Chad Roy and Connor Seipel, coach Matt Croci said, and that opened the outside game for Balser and others.
“I’m proud of the bigs for recognizing that and kicking the ball out,” Croci said. “I’m certainly proud of Mitch for making shots. We needed that tonight.”
Highlights of the Tigers 18th win in a row
Highlights as the Tigers roll to 13-0 with 81-61 win over Hiram
Wittenberg returns to action at 3 p.m. Saturday against Denison (10-8, 6-5) at Pam Evans Smith Arena. The Tigers then play Kenyon (6-12. 3-8), Oberlin (9-9, 3-4) and Wabash (8-10, 4-7) before closing the regular season with games against the three teams directly behind it in the NCAC standings: Hiram (11-7, 7-4); Ohio Wesleyan (13-5, 8-3); and Wooster (14-4, 8-3).
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Wittenberg has beaten everyone in the conference once. Doing it twice will be a bigger challenge. At least Balser got the first game against Wooster out of the way. He scored five points in Wittenberg’s 86-75 victory at Wooster on Jan. 13.
“It was weird just being in my old atmosphere,” Balser said, “but it was fun. It was a great experience. From the beginning of the year, I looked forward to it. I want every game, but I can say I wanted that one a little bit more.”
While Balser couldn’t have expected he would join a program that would start the season 18-0, he had big hopes for his team because he knew his new teammates well.
“I knew coming in that I was going to get to play with some guys, such as (Jordan) Pumroy,” Balser said. “I knew of him. I knew about Jake (Bertemes). The main thing — no offense to the rest of my teammates — was Chad Roy inside. I played against him for two years, and it was hard. I was talking to my dad about the transfer and said, ‘I get to play with a 6-10 dude who could be an All-American.’”