Wabash College's Kellen Schreiber slipped past the 15th-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team with a back cut, and scored the go-ahead layup with 1.4 seconds remaining, as the Little Giants won the battle of the remaining two undefeated teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference 62-60 at Chadwick Court in Crawfordsville, Ind. on Saturday afternoon.
Wooster (7-1, 3-1 NCAC) junior Trenton Tipton's lengthy entry pass gave the Scots a potential realistic chance for a go-ahead look at the buzzer, but that chance never materialized as the Little Giants deflected the ball back toward midcourt to seal the win.
Wooster was on the cusp of finally gaining separation with about 14:30 to go during a game in which neither team led by more than eight, but Wabash (7-0, 3-0 NCAC) sophomore Jack Davidson scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. The final three Davidson points came on an old-fashion three-point play with 2:31 remaining, in what resulted in Wabash's first lead since the 3:41 mark of the opening half.
Wooster junior Danyon Hempy made the front end of a pair of free throws with 2:09 left to tie the game at 60, and that's where the score stood until Schreiber's heroics. Both teams had multiple chances offensively, but couldn't connect, while defensively, senior Eric Bulic did his part to make sure the Little Giants didn't get any extra chances with two of his season- and game-high 12 rebounds in the final two minutes.
Hempy, who led Wooster with 22 points, worked the in-and-out game with Bulic, and the junior's three-pointer with 14:32 left upped the Scots' lead to 43-35. Davidson responded with a personal 7-0 spurt which had the Little Giants breathing right down the Scots' backs.
Thanks to already having nine points in the second half, Hempy drew an immediate double team nearly every time he was in scoring range down the stretch, and that opened up a spot-up three-pointer for Tipton, and coupled with a Bulic tip-in, the Scots led 48-42 with just over 11 minutes left in the game. At the other end of the floor, Hempy led a strong defensive push with two blocked shots.
In the first half, Wooster raced out to a 7-0 lead, thanks in large part to a stifling defensive effort, as Wabash started the game 0-for-5 from the floor and didn't make a field goal until the 15:27 mark. However, once Tyler Watson's three-pointer went in, the lid was lifted off the Little Giants basket, as Wabash went 4-for-4 from the floor on its 12-2 run, during which the Scots fell behind for the first time on the afternoon.
Wooster had plenty of chances in the first half, but couldn't capitalize on its 13 offensive rebounds, and that led to a back-and-forth tilt with seven lead changes. The Scots eventually settled for a four-point halftime lead at 30-26, with senior Reece Dupler capping the scoring with a left-handed driving layup just before the buzzer.
Bulic logged the Scots' first double-double of the season with 11 points to pair with his 12 boards, while five Wooster players secured at least five rebounds in the game.
Wooster was held to 35.8 percent (24-for-67) from the floor for the game, and couldn't consistently cash with second-chance points despite having 21 offensive rebounds.
Schreiber was the only other Little Giant in double figures with 11 points, while Ben Stachowski's 10 rebounds marked the team-high.
Wabash also didn't fare well in the shooting department, as the Little Giants finished the game at 35.7 percent (20-for-56) from the floor. However, Wabash was 17-for-25 at the charity stripe, and that proved to be one of the key differences in the game.
Next, Wooster heads out to Arizona, where it will serve as host of a four-team classic at Mesa Community College Dec. 18-19. Wooster will take on fifth-ranked Whitman College (6-1) at 4 p.m. EST/2 p.m. MST on Dec. 18 with Alma College (0-6) playing Sul Ross State University (1-4) at 2 p.m. EST/noon MST.