The 21st-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team was the better squad from beyond the arc and at the charity stripe during its 57-47 win over Hanover College on Tuesday evening, and that ultimately proved to be the difference maker in what was otherwise a neck-and-neck contest in terms of major statistical categories.
Wooster (3-0) was locked in from range in the first half and went a collective 7-for-15 from three-point territory. Freshman JG Gillard's three-pointer with 15:45 left in the half proved to be the spark for the Scots, as that kick-started a 13-0 run. Junior Danyon Hempy booked-ended the run with a three-pointer of his own, while defensively, the Scots' suffocating defense forced the Panthers to turn it over on five straight possessions at one point during the run before Jacob Bray's lay-in stopped Hanover's 5:22 scoring drought.
Five Scots knocked down three-pointers in the opening half, including senior Reece Dupler, who drained his first of two first-half trifectas on a step-back jumper that made it 19-13 at the 9:52 mark. Dupler quickly logged a steal on the ensuing Hanover possession and was showcasing his full array of weapons with a signature jumper in the paint. The guard then capped his own personal 8-0 run with a three-pointer that put Wooster up 24-13 at the 8:19 mark.
Hanover doubled down low early and often, which also played a factor in opening up the perimeter for Wooster in the first half, and that resulted in the Scots forwards logging a quartet of first-half assists. Bulic tallied a pair of helpers on the stat sheet, the second of which came when sophomore Keonn Scott canned a field goal from beyond the arc to up Wooster's lead to 35-25 prior to the Scots settling for an eight-point halftime lead at 35-27.
While both teams had big spurts in the second half, neither team was able to sustain consistency on the offensive end of the floor. Scott's pull-up jumper from about 16 feet out bumped Wooster's lead to 48-37 with 9:02 to go, however it would take a strong closing stretch for the Scots to close out the Panthers. That's because Hanover went on a 10-0 run capped by Christian Reed's lay-in with 3:20 left that made it a one-point game at 48-47.
It was all Wooster from there starting with a pair of Hempy free throws at the 2:57 mark that made it a three-point game. Shortly after, Dupler was left alone in transition, and that led to a wide-open three-pointer. Hanover coughed the ball up twice down the stretch, and Wooster took charge on the offensive glass with Bulic's rebound with 38 ticks left all but sealing the victory.
Dupler led the way with 15 points, while Hempy reached double figures in scoring with 10. Bulic secured a team-high seven rebounds.
Wooster was held to 38.0 percent (19-for-50) from the floor, but the Scots were 11-for-14 from the free-throw line.
Hanover's standout guard Cam Fails led all scorers with 20 points, while Blake Robertson corralled a game-high nine rebounds.
Hanover finished the game at 37.3 percent (19-for-51) from the floor, which included a 1-for-13 showing from beyond the arc. The Panthers missed six of their 14 free throws.
Both teams logged 36 rebounds on the night, while Wooster turned it over 12 times to Hanover's 13.
Noteworthy, the 47 points allowed by Wooster were the fewest since the Scots held Kenyon College to 46 on Jan. 18, 2017.
Wooster's four-game road trip continues on Sunday, Nov. 25 with a 2 p.m. tilt at Ohio Northern University (2-0).