|by Brent Harris • January 15, 2011|
Wes Smith scored a game-high 32 points and Nick Curosh added a career-best 14 as Wabash extended a nine-point first half lead to an 80-58 victory at Allegheny Saturday afternoon.
The Little Giants turned a 39-30 halftime lead into a 22-point victory thanks by forcing 22 Allegheny turnovers. Wabash converted those turnovers into 27 total points in the win. The victory improved the seventh-ranked Little Giants' record to 14-1 overall and 6-1 in North Coast Athletic Conference games. The contest was the first for Wabash since losing 67-65 one week earlier to number-one ranked Wooster at home.
Curosh (right), a 6-7 junior forward, dominated inside against a smaller Gator defense. He tallied six of his 14 points in the final period, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field to go with two free throws.
Smith and Curosh each scored twice in the opening minutes of the second half to stretch the Little Giants' halftime lead to 14 points. Allegheny would get no closer than 11 points before Smith, AJ Sutherlin, and Derek Bailey each drilled three-point baskets to put the game out of reach.
Wabash's defense held the Gators to 19 points through the first 15 minutes of the final period. Smith finished the contest with six steals, scoring on each defensive stop.
The Little Giants shot 49 percent from the field, hitting 28-57 attempts. Wabash hit just six three-point attempts, but continued to apply offensive pressure inside to shoot 26 free throws in the game. The Little Giants hit 18 of those 26 attempts.
Bailey added nine points to the scoring effort for Wabash, while Sutherlin added seven points. Devone McLeod scored 17 points to lead the Gators (5-11, 2-6 NCAC), while James Ness added 10 points.
Wabash returns to action Wednesday night at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.