Lengthy Opening Run Sets Tone in Wooster's 95-54 Win Over Wabash

Eric Bulic
Spencer Williams

WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster men's basketball team did not commit a turnover in the first half, and did not allow a point in the first 4:58 of the contest, as the Fighting Scots topped Wabash College 95-54 on Saturday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium.

In holding Wabash (8-9, 4-6 North Coast Athletic Conference) to 54 points, Wooster (11-6, 8-2 NCAC) has now allowed 55 or fewer points in each of its last three contests. Coincidentally, one of Wooster's opponents the last time three consecutive foes scored 55 points or fewer was Wabash, and that clip also included DePauw University and Westmont College in the early stages of the 2013-14 season.

Wooster, now winners of a season-high five straight games, raced out to a 15-0 lead, marking the second time this season the Scots opened a game with at least 15 points before the opponent scored. During Saturday's opening segment – which opened a double-digit lead for the duration – the Scots had an assist on each of their five field goals.

Less than two minutes later, Wooster pushed the lead out to 17 at 22-5 at the 13:00 mark when sophomore Mitch Balser cleaned up with put-back after an offensive rebound to cap a 7-0 Wooster run that also featured a 3-pointer from junior Spencer Williams.

Then, Wabash (8-9, 4-6 NCAC) pulled within 10 at 22-12 on a Colten Garland 3-pointer with 11:25 to go in the half, capping a 7-0 swing for the Little Giants, but that was as close as Wabash would get.

Later, Williams continued to showcase his full array of offensive abilities at the end of the half, as the junior capped the stanza with a 7-2 run that featured two free throws, a jumper, and a 3-pointer to give Wooster a 50-30 halftime lead.

Of note, the Scots had three starters in double figures in the scoring column at the half in Williams (13), sophomore Reece Dupler (11) and senior Milt Davis (10), while Wooster recorded an assist of 12 of its 17 first-half field goals.

Similar to Wednesday's win over Kenyon College, Wooster's defense really suffocated Wabash in Saturday's second half, as the Little Giants were held to 6-for-24 shooting over the final 20 minutes, and finished the game at 30.4 percent (17-for-56) from the field. Notable, the Scots held the Little Giants to two field goals in the first 11:46 of the second half, but Wabash did sink 11 free throws during that stretch.

Offensively, Wooster scored the first seven points of the frame, including five from Dupler that made it a 57-30 game with 19:05 remaining. Later in the half, Williams, Balser, and sophomore Simon Texidor knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, and two trips down the court later, junior Ari Stern connected from long range to cap a 14-0 run over the span of 1:22 that made it a 39-point game (88-49) with 3:40 remaining.

For the game, Dupler led four Scots in double figures with 20 points, one shy of his career high. Williams chipped in 18 in the scoring column and dished out four assists as did Davis, who finished the game with 14 points. Fanelly rounded out those in double figures with 13 points to pair with seven rebounds, four steals, and three assists.

Other notable statistical performances included sophomore Eric Bulic's career-high 11 rebounds and two blocks each by Bulic and first-year Danyon Hempy.

Garland, who scored 23 points in December's 66-62 win by Wooster, was held to nine points on the afternoon, and he was one of three Little Giants with nine points for the game.

Next, Wooster closes out its three-game homestand with an 8 p.m. tilt against Hiram College (7-9, 4-5 NCAC) on Wednesday.