WOOSTER, Ohio – A pair of steals at key moments in the second half headlined a ramped-up effort from The College of Wooster men's basketball team, as the Fighting Scots logged eight of their 10 steals after halftime during an 86-76 win over Medaille College in the 2017 Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic finale on Saturday evening at Timken Gymnasium.
Wooster (2-0) recorded a steal seconds into the second half when sophomore Danyon Hempy poked the ball away from Medaille's (0-2) Mike Hollenbeck. Senior Spencer Williams led the Scots on the ensuing fast break with junior Eric Bulic connected on a lay-in to bump Wooster's lead out to 42-36.
The two teams traded buckets until Hempy found junior Reece Dupler inside for an easy open look that pushed the lead back out to six at 46-40, and the Scots' 3-point shooters took over from there with Williams knocking down the first of eight second-half trifectas to make it a 49-40 game at the 18:07 mark.
|Junior Simon Texidor knocked down five 3-pointers in the win.|
In fact, Wooster extended its lead to 15-plus on three instances when the Scots rained in a trio of 3-pointers over a span of 1:40. Williams led the quick spree to make it 60-45, and on the next possession, Hempy connected from beyond the arc to up the advantage to 16. Then, after a Medaille bucket by Hollenbeck, junior Simon Texidor answered right back with his first of four second-half 3-pointers, giving Wooster a game-high 17-point lead in the process
Later, a pair of free throws by Meghale Ford pulled the Mavericks within four at 68-64 with 8:16 to go, and Medaille pulled within that again on a jumper by Hollenbeck at the 7:09 mark, but a steal by Williams came in the middle of a 10-0 Wooster run. A 3-pointer by Texidor and a free throw by Hempy capped the run with Wooster on top 80-66.
In the first half, Wooster opened up a nine-point lead at the 12:02 mark when a Dupler lay-in made it 18-9. Later, a Bulic 3-pointer bumped the lead out to 10, and on the next trip down the floor, the Scots' junior snared a key offensive rebound and tipped it into the hoop to extend the Scots' edge to 12.
A 13-0 Medaille run ensued, but junior Blake Blair propelled the Scots back in front with a 3-pointer with 4:13 remaining in the opening half that made it 32-30.
Later, another 3-pointer – this one by junior Trey Miller – put Wooster in front for good at 37-34 with 2:19 to go in the opening half.
Blair, who made his first collegiate start, rose the occasion with a double-double courtesy of 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. In fact, Blair was one of five Scots in double figures, of which Dupler led the way with 21 points, and was followed closely by Williams' 17.
Of note, Wooster's emphasis on ball movement was evident as well in the second half, as that's when the Scots recorded 12 of their 18 assists. Hempy led the way with seven in the game, and that more than doubled his previous career-high of three. Additionally, Dupler matched his career-high in the helper department with six.
Other stats of note include six rebounds and four steals by Williams and four steals by Hempy.
Kirk Hawkins and Hollenbeck scored 16 points each for Medaille.
Next, Wooster travels to No. 19 Saint John Fisher College (1-2) for a 6 p.m. tilt on Tuesday, Nov. 21.