No. 7 Wooster Tops St. John Fisher Behind Offensive First Half, Defensive Second Half

Eric Bulic
Danyon Hempy

WOOSTER, Ohio – Freshman Danyon Hempy scored a game-high 25 points, and went 9-for-12 from the floor in his first collegiate start, as the seventh-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team topped Saint John Fisher 85-75 on Sunday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster's (3-1) long-range shooting was on point early on as junior Alex Baptiste and Hempy connected on back-to-back 3-pointers that were part of an 8-2 opening run. In fact, Wooster made five of its first six shots on the afternoon with a layup by junior Spencer Williams capping that stretch and putting the Scots up 12-4 with 16:27 left in the first half.

A few minutes later, field goals by senior Dan Fanelly book-ended a 7-2 Wooster run, with sophomore Reece Dupler connecting on a 3-pointer in between the senior post's shots, as the Scots opened up a 13-point lead at 21-8 with 13:17 left in the first half, marking the largest margin of the opening stanza.

Next, just over halfway through the opening half, St. John Fisher's (3-1) Keegan Ryan capped a 6-2 run by the Cardinals to pull within five at 25-20, the closest St. John Fisher came the rest of the game.

From there, Hempy sparked a quick 6-0 spurt with back-to-back lay-ins that were set-up by steals by Fanelly and junior Derek Schwarz, which extended the lead back to double digits at 31-20 with 8:17 left in the half.b

Down the stretch the two teams traded points as the teams combined to only miss one field goal over the final 3:08 of the first half, and in fact, would post nearly identical stat lines as Wooster connected on 54.8 percent (17-for-31) of its first-half field goals, while St. John Fisher was right behind at 53.1 percent (17-for-32).

The second half featured a much more defensive-minded game, especially for Wooster as St. John Fisher shot 7-for-28 from the field, and didn't get on the board until a Tyler English free throw with 16:34 left in the game.

On the other end of the floor, Wooster turned a six-point (50-44) halftime lead into a 14-point advantage prior to English's free throw with an 8-0 burst to open the frame, headlined by two layups from Baptiste.

Neither team scored more than three points in a row over the ensuing 6:14, but Wooster extended its lead to a game-high 17 points at 65-48 after a Williams jumper with 11:56 remaining in the contest.

Then, St. John Fisher had a bit of a surge with a 6-0 run, including four points at the charity stripe by Daniel Morales that made it an 11-point game at 65-54 with 9:08 to go, but the Cardinals did not pull closer than nine down the stretch.

Wooster featured two starters over 20 points on the afternoon as Williams joined Hempy with 21. Dupler finished in double figures with 13 points.

Notable, Wooster's posts held Ryan, who entered play with 25.7 points-per-game, to 19 on the afternoon, with only three of the points coming in the second half. The senior did finish with a double-double, securing a game-best 13 rebounds.

Sophomore Eric Bulic led the post charge with nine rebounds and three blocks on the afternoon, while Baptiste added two swats.

Next, Wooster (1-0 North Coast Athletic Conference) returns to league play with a 7:30 p.m. tilt against Denison University (4-0, 0-0 NCAC) on Wednesday, Nov. 30.