WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Spencer Williams scored a game-high 22 points, and senior Milt Davis added a career-high 19, as the second-seeded College of Wooster men's basketball team topped seventh-seeded Wabash College 89-68 in the quarterfinal round of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday evening at Timken Gymnasium.
With the win, Wooster (19-7) advances to its 21st straight NCAC Tournament semifinal contest, and will play third-seeded Denison University (22-4) at Ohio Wesleyan University's Branch Rickey Arena in Delaware, Ohio at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Top-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (20-6) squares off with fourth-seeded Wittenberg University (18-8) in the other semifinal at 5:30 p.m. The two semifinal winners meet in the championship game at 4 p.m. on Saturday, also at Ohio Wesleyan.
|Senior Milt Davis scored a career-high 19 points in Wooster's NCAC Tournament quarterfinal win.|
Davis played a big role in jump-starting Wooster's offense on the night as the guard laid in a bucket to spark the Scots on a 9-0 run, just over 2:15 into the contest, and that led to an eventual 11-4 Wooster lead at the 13:58 mark.
Wabash (11-15) hung around through the entire first half, and cut its deficit to three on a four-point play by Colten Garland, but Davis answered right back with a 3-pointer before sophomore Reece Dupler upped the Scots' edge to eight on a jumper at the 13:28 mark that made it 16-8.
The Little Giants pulled within two possessions on three occasions during the remainder of the first half, but each time the Scots had an answer. First, sophomore Mitch Balser knocked down a 3-pointer on a kick-out from junior Alex Baptiste that made it 23-16 with 8:20 to go in the half. Next, Dupler hit a jumper with 4:22 to go in the opening period to make it 29-23, and then, Balser connected from beyond the arc to push Wooster's lead to seven with 3:55 to go in the frame.
Wooster led by as many as 12 before settling for a nine-point halftime advantage at 41-32, and a lot of that was attributed to junior Ryan Wobbe's four rebounds in the final 4:05 of the stanza. In fact, two of Wobbe's rebounds came on the offensive end of the floor on the same possession, and Balser was able to knock down the second-chance 3-pointer with :53 left that made it 40-29.
In the second half, a layup by Dupler extended Wooster's lead to double digits for the direction of the game at the 17:16 mark, and later, the Scots pushed their advantage to 16 on an and-one by Williams and a jumper from Davis.
From there, neither team mounted a run until Wabash pulled within 12 on a 5-0 swing, but Balser put a stop to that with a behind the back flip to Davis who knocked down a 3-pointer.
With 5:26 remaining, Baptiste and Williams combined to put the game out of reach with an 8-0 stretch to push Wooster's lead past 20 for the first time of the night as Baptiste capped the stretch with the lay-in at the 4:02 mark.
Davis and Williams combined to shoot 16-for-27 on the night. For Davis, his scoring output of 19 points, bested the 18 he scored against Lancaster Bible College in the first round of the 2016 NCAC Tournament. Williams' night marked his fifth time over 20 points this season.
Dupler and Balser scored 18 and 16 points on the night respectively, and both dished out four assists while Dupler added three steals. Sophomore Eric Bulic cleaned up in the rebounding department, with 15 of the Scots' 44 rebounds on the night.
Wabash's Harrison Hallstrom led the Little Giants with 17 points, while Garland chipped in 15 to go along with five assists.
Notable, Wooster finished right at 50 percent (36-for-72) shooting in the game, while Wabash was held to 36.1 percent (22-61).