Senior Milt Davis sank a pair of free throws with 12.1 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game, as the 11th-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team warded off a late comeback bid from Wabash College during a 66-62 win on Saturday afternoon at Chadwick Court in Crawfordsville, Ind.
Wooster (4-2, 2-1 North Coast Athletic Conference) opened with a 4-0 run with layups from freshman Danyon Hempy and sophomore Reece Dupler, in what turned out to be a back-and-forth battle for the first 9:25, before Wooster pulled ahead for the remainder of the game.
Wabash (2-4, 0-1 NCAC) answered Wooster's opening stretch with a 7-0 clip to take its first lead of the day with Evan Frank leading the way down low with a tip-in and a layup, the latter of which made it a 7-4 contest with 15:54 left in the opening stanza.
Wooster retook the lead a minute later on a layup from Hempy, but Colten Garland hit four early 3-pointers, including two that gave Wabash a one-point lead at 15-14 and 18-17.
After Garland's fourth trifecta, senior Dan Fanelly fed junior Derek Schwarz in the low post to swing the scale back the Fighting Scots' way at 19-18 with 10:35 left in the half, a lead that the Scots did not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Just over three minutes later, sophomore Simon Texidor and Hempy knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions extending Wooster's lead to eight at 28-20 with 6:59 left in the half, and the Scots maintained a four-to-nine point lead for the remainder of the half.
In the second half, Wooster increased its lead to 11 at 41-30 with 15:23 remaining when Hempy knifed inside for the layup after securing a rebound at the other end of the court. That basket capped a 7-0 run that saw junior Spencer Williams knock down his first 3-pointer of the day.
Speaking of Williams, the junior who didn't score in the first half, knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the second stanza, the third of which capped a 10-2 run to increase Wooster's lead to a game-high 14 points at 53-39 with 9:22 remaining.
From there, a pair of 3-pointers by the Little Giants' Ben Stachowski and six free Wabash free throws cut the Scots' lead to six (64-58) with 1:52 remaining. Then, layups by Garland and Frank made it a two-point game (64-62) with 22 ticks left, but Wooster used up 10 seconds of clock before Wabash fouled Davis.
Williams led Wooster on the afternoon with 13 points, marking the third time in the last four games the junior guard has scored 13 points in the second half. Hempy backed that total up with 12 points while junior Alex Baptiste and Fanelly each had nine points.
Of note, Fanelly matched his career-high on the defensive end of the floor with five steals, and the Scots had 11 overall on the afternoon, including two each from Baptiste and Hempy.
Garland led Wabash with 23 points, while Frank turned in a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Next, Wooster travels to Hiram College (1-4, 0-0 NCAC) for an 8 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Dec. 7.