Marching On: For an NCAA Div. III record 15th consecutive year, The College of Wooster (21-7) is part of the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Championship, and for the first time since 2014, earned the North Coast Athletic Conference's automatic bid. Wooster is headed to Hanover, Ind. for first- and possibly second-round action on March 3-4. The Scots are slated to open play against North Central College (Ill.) (17-10) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Host Hanover (23-3) plays Westminster College (Mo.) (19-8) in the other first-round game at 7:30 p.m. with the two winners set to meet in Saturday's second round at 7 p.m.
Media Coverage: Hanover will provide a video stream for each game at https://www.hanover.edu/about/events/live. Please note those watching from a computer will need to install Microsoft Silverlight prior to being able to view the game. Hanover's video streaming page will direct you to the download if you do not already have Microsoft Silverlight installed. Fans can also tune-in on WQKT 104.5 FM and listen to the call of the "Voice of the Scots" Mike Breckenridge. Breckenridge's call can also be streamed online at wqkt.com. Periodic score updates will be available on the team's Twitter account @ScotsBasketball.
Ticket Information: Tickets for this weekend's games are $10 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, students, and youth, while children under 2-years-old are admitted free of charge. There are no advance ticket sales as Hanover does not anticipate a sellout. Ticket sales begin 90 minutes prior to tipoff of the first game each day. Collier Arena has a capacity of 1,900 and will not be cleared between first-round games on Friday. Therefore, Friday's ticket gets fans into both first-round games.
Post-Game Gathering Information: Alumni, parents, and friends of the basketball program are invited to a post-game gathering on Friday at the Historic Broadway Hotel & Tavern at the Livery Stable, located at 313 Broadway St. in Madison, Ind., just about 15 minutes from Hanover. The gathering will take place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Appetizers will be provided, and there will be a cash bar.
Scots Among Nation's Elite in Terms of NCAA Tourney Appearances: The Scots are making their 26th appearance in the Div. III national tourney, which ranks as third all-time. The University of Scranton is making its division-leading 28th appearance, while Wooster's archrival Wittenberg University has made 27 appearances. Additionally, Wooster is now two above the old record for consecutive appearances as the Scots surpassed the State University of New York at Potsdam in that category last year. Potsdam made 13 straight appearances from 1978-90. Of note, Wooster's consecutive appearance streak is at worst the sixth-longest stretch in NCAA men's basketball as Div. I programs University of Kansas (27), Duke University (21), Michigan State University (19), Gonzaga University (18) and University of Wisconsin-Madison (18) all have longer active runs they will be looking to add to when the Div. I selection show rolls around on March 12.
NCAA Tournament History: Wooster enters play this week with a 34-26 all-time record in the Div. III national tournament. The Scots have advanced as far as the national championship game (2011) and were national semifinalists in 2003 and 2007. Last year, Wooster made it to the sectional final ("Elite 8") before bowing out to Christopher Newport University. The Scots are 13-3 all-time in the first round and will be looking to make it nine consecutive first-round wins this Friday. Prior to the tournament expanding, Wooster received eight first-round byes between 1992 and 2004.
Wooster vs. its NCAA Pod: Wooster and North Central have met once before, and that occurred all the way back in the 1978-79 season, a game won by Wooster 103-73. In fact, sophomore Mitch Balser's (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) father, Fred, a W Association Hall of Famer, played in that 1978 contest against North Central, and scored a game-high 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The two teams were both in Wooster for the sectional round of the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and would have met with a spot in the national semifinals on the line, but Wittenberg topped North Central 58-55 and Illinois Wesleyan University beat Wooster 69-67 in the "Sweet 16." Wooster and Hanover have met seven times before, with the Scots holding a 4-3 lead in the series. The two teams last met on Nov. 29, 2014 at Hanover, a game won by the Panthers 70-57. Wooster and Westminster have never faced each other.
Moore's Historic Season: The 2016-17 season has truly been remarkable, and deservedly so, for Wooster head coach Steve Moore. Wooster's 76-72 win over Ohio Wesleyan University in the final of the NCAC Tournament marked the longtime mentor's 800th career win, making Moore the 18th coach in the history of NCAA men's basketball to reach this milestone, and the fifth to do so this season. During Wooster's 91-67 win over Allegheny College on Jan. 11, Moore moved into second all-time in Div. III coaching wins with 787, and that occasion marked his 700th victory at Wooster. Back on Nov. 4, Wooster squared off with Div. II Ashland University in an exhibition game at Moore's high school, and his alma mater surprised the legendary coach by dedicating the court at its new gymnasium in his honor.
Wooster, Duke, and Kansas are Together Again: Wooster's 87-77 win over Denison University in the semifinals of the NCAC Tournament marked the Scots' 20th win of the season, upping Wooster's incredible run of consecutive 20-win seasons to 21. That stat is tied for second with Duke among active 20-win season streaks and the two storied programs only trail Kansas, who has reached this nugget in each of the last 28 seasons.
Scots Extend All-Time NCAC Tournament Title Lead to 16: Wooster won its league-leading 16th NCAC Tournament title with Saturday's 76-72 win over Ohio Wesleyan. In the game, senior Dan Fanelly (Uniontown, Ohio/Green) sank two free throws with :09.2 remaining to extend Wooster's lead to two possessions after Ohio Wesleyan had pulled within two after trailing by 21 earlier in the second half. Notable, Wooster's 16 titles are now nearly three-times better than the next closest team who happens to be Wittenberg at six.
Scots Streaking in 2017: Wooster ended 2016 with a 6-6 record, but since the calendar flipped to 2017, the Scots have been nearly unstoppable winning 14 of their 15 games since Jan. 1. In fact, Wooster strung together a 10-game win streak from Jan. 7 - Feb. 8, marking the 26th time under Moore the Scots have won 10 or more games in a row, and Wooster now has at least one 10-game win streak in 18 of the last 20 seasons. Wooster's streak was snapped at 10 by Ohio Wesleyan on Feb. 11, but the Scots returned the favor when it counted by thwarting the Bishops' streak at 14 in the championship game of the NCAC Tournament.
30-for-30: Fanelly turned in 64 points between Wooster's last two games at the NCAC Tournament. He broke Wooster's NCAC Tournament record held by W Association Hall of Famer Bryan Nelson (31 in the 2001 NCAC Championship game) with a 32-point night against Denison in the semifinals, and then was even more impressive in the championship game with a season-high 34 points to pair with nine rebounds and four blocks. Notable, Fanelly now has 519 points on the season, good for the 11th-most in a single-season in program history, and he is the sixth Scot to record a 500-point season.
Fanelly Earns National Honor: Fanelly earned a spot on the D3hoops.com Team of the Week, Presented by Scoutware, for his outstanding weekend at the NCAC Tournament.
On To the Finals: Junior Spencer Williams' (Warrensville Hts., Ohio/Orange) go-ahead old-fashioned three-point play from Wooster's double-overtime win at DePauw University on Jan. 28 won the week two fan vote in the GEICO Play of the Year competition. Williams will be one of five plays in the finals for fans to vote on between March 6-13. The winning play will be unveiled on CBS' "Best of College Basketball" show on March 25 at noon.
42 Times Two: Williams became the 42nd 1,000 point scorer in program history against Hiram College back on Jan. 25, and then on Saturday he did something else for the 42nd time in program history - he surpassed 400 points in a season. Williams, who now has 410 points on the year, enters play as the Scots' second-leading scorer at 14.6 points per game.
Rim Protectors: Sophomore Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) and junior Alex Baptiste (Allonnes, France/Wasatch Academy (Utah)) provide a formidable one-two punch down low for the Scots both offensively and defensively. Both are generally responsible for matching up with the oppositions' top posts and have been super effective in slowing them down. On the stat sheet, the duo's biggest impact is seen in the rebounding department where Bulic leads the team with 6.7 per night and Baptiste ranks second at 6.1 per game. Bulic has 114 rebounds over the Scots' last 12 games (9.5 per game), including a career-high 17 against Kenyon College on Feb. 15 and 15 versus Wabash College in the NCAC Tournament quarterfinals. Baptiste and Bulic combine to average nearly 2.0 blocks per game (55 in 56 games) with Baptiste holding the team lead in that stat at 31.
Thievery at Timken: Wooster had a big pick-pocketing problem at its last six home games, and the person of interest in the mystery wears a Scots' uniform with a No. 23 on it. That would be sophomore Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood), who averaged 3.0 steals per game over the Scots' final six home contests of the season. Dupler enters the NCAA Tournament as the Scots' third-leading scorer at 10.1 points per game, and has been in double figures in five of the last six games, starting that span with nights of 19, 18, 18, and 18 points respectively.
Mr. Postseason: Senior Milt Davis (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) continues to find another level in the postseason. In the NCAC Tournament quarterfinal game, the guard scored a career-high 19 points, eclipsing the 18 he scored against Lancaster Bible in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Then in the semifinal win, Davis was at the center of attention at a critical moment of the game. Denison pulled within single digits at about the same point in the game it did during last year's conference championship game won by the Big Red, but Davis helped to rewrite this year's script and push the lead back out to double-digits with a 3-pointer and a jumper that were part of his 15 points.
Dead-Eye Danyon: First-year Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley) emerged as a lights out shooter right from the onset of his collegiate career. Hempy rounds out the Scots in double figures at 10.1 points per game, and is connecting at an impressive 45.2 percent (48-for-61) clip from beyond the arc and at 48.1 percent (101-for-210) from the field overall on the season. In his first collegiate start, Hempy scored a season-high 25 points against Saint John Fisher College.