Stellar Shooting, Fast-Break Opportunities Propel Wooster to 99-76 Win Over Ohio Wesleyan

Mitch Balser
Dan Fanelly

WOOSTER, Ohio – A quartet of first-half fast-break layups by The College of Wooster men's basketball team enabled the Fighting Scots to overcome an early barrage of Ohio Wesleyan University 3-pointers, while a 62.3 percent field-goal percentage for the game allowed Wooster to keep building its lead in the second half en route to a 99-76 win over the Battling Bishops on Saturday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster (7-6, 4-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) took charge early with a 3-pointer by junior Spencer Williams capping a 9-0 run to give the Scots an 11-4 lead in the process. Then, Ohio Wesleyan (7-6, 4-2 NCAC) caught fire from deep burying trifectas on its next three possession to pull ahead 13-11 with 13:43 left in the opening period.

Sophomore Mitch Balser jump-started the explosive offensive with five straight points, and then a delivered a lengthy down-court pass after a steal to classmate Reece Dupler, who finished the fast-break in stride to open up an 18-13 Wooster lead.

Later in the half, Balser was at the center of the action again with his jumper standing as the go-ahead bucket at 24-23 with 8:27 left in the stanza. Next, Wooster's utilized its team speed to beat Ohio Wesleyan in transition after three defensive rebounds with Balser finding classmate Eric Bulic, Dupler, and senior Dan Fanelly on three straight possessions, with Fanelly's lay-in opening up a seven-point (30-23) Wooster lead.

At the first-half buzzer, senior Milt Davis connected on a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 10 at 45-35, and Fanelly seized that momentum coming out of the break ballooning the lead to 14 at 49-35 with a dunk after a steal on the other end of the floor just 29 seconds into the frame.

Fanelly continued his strong afternoon just under five minutes into the frame, and at one point scored eight straight points. Balser chipped in a 3-pointer to cap the 11-0 run and extend Wooster's lead to 27 (68-41) with 13:44 remaining.

Later, junior Alex Baptiste upped the lead to 30 (81-51) at the 8:37 mark, while 19 ticks later, first-year Danyon Hempy upped Wooster's edge to a game-high 32 points.

Fanelly led the way with a game-high 22 points, and moved into 15th-place on the program's all-time scoring list on his second free throw that came 18 ticks into the second half. The senior added a game-high six rebounds while contributing four assists, three blocks, and two steals.

Balser accounted for 14 of Wooster's season-high 38 bench points, and the sophomore dished out five assists on the afternoon. Williams matched Balser in the scoring column while Dupler chipped in with 10 points. In all, 12 of the 16 student-athletes who saw action for the Scots scored at least one bucket.

Notable, Wooster's 62.3 field-goal percentage marked the second time this season the Scots have shot over 60 percent from the field. Previously, Wooster connected at 62.9 percent in the season lid-lifter versus Oberlin College.

Jaret Gerber paced Ohio Wesleyan with 13 points – all of which came in the second half – while Seth Clark added 12.

Next, Wooster travels to Allegheny College (4-9, 1-5 NCAC) for a 6 p.m. tilt on Wednesday, Jan. 11.