String of Tight Finishes Comes to a Close, as No. 14 Wooster Tops Ohio Wesleyan by 13

WOOSTER, Ohio – The exciting stretch of games in the series decided on by four or fewer points came to a close at four, as the No. 14 College of Wooster men's basketball team posted a 68-55 win over Ohio Wesleyan University in North Coast Athletic Conference action on the opening day of the 56th annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic on Saturday evening at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster (8-3, 4-1 NCAC), which led wire-to-wire, buckled down defensively from the onset, as Ohio Wesleyan (5-5, 1-3 NCAC) didn't score until Derrick Wyche's lay-up at the 14:08 mark.

Trenton Tipton
Junior Trenton Tipton secured five rebounds, while also helping hold one of the NCAC's top rebounders to three on the night.

For the game, three things in particular keyed the Scots win. First, the Battling Bishops found tough sledding from beyond the arc with a 5-for-23 showing. Second, led by junior Danyon Hempy, the Scots held the Battling Bishops' leading scorer, Ethan Stanislawski, to five points on 2-for-12 shooting. Finally, on the glass, OWU's Grant Gossard, who came in averaging 9.9 rebounds per night, was kept in check with three, thanks in large part to senior Eric Bulic and junior Trenton Tipton, who combined for 12 boards.

Offensively, Wooster opened with six quick points inside before Bulic canned a three-pointer to cap the game-opening 9-0 stretch. For the game, the Scots lead never dipped below seven.

After Ohio Wesleyan pulled within seven on Jake Hecker's three-pointer, Wooster rattled off a 6-0 spurt, which made it a 27-14 game with 6:30 left in the opening stanza. Bulic's steal started the strong stretch, and that led to a quick fast-break lay-in by senior Reece Dupler, who scored all six points during the run.

Wooster accounted for eight of its 12 fast-break points in the second stanza, four of which came just past the period's midpoint. Bulic and Dupler led the way at that juncture, starting with a rebound by the forward, and the Scots' guard beat his man down the floor to make it a 54-40 game. Not long after, Dupler came away with a steal, and that led to an impressive fast-break hoop.

Dupler scored a game-high 15 points, nine of which came in the second half, to lead a quartet of Scots in double figures. Hempy finished with 13 points on the sheet, while Bulic and sophomore Dontae Williams were right behind with 12 and 11, respectively. Bulic's seven rebounds and three steals marked the game highs, while Dupler and Tipton logged five boards each.

Wooster shot 53.6 percent (30-for-56) for the game, which included a remarkable 62.1 percent (18-for-29) in the opening half. The Scots finished with a two-rebound advantage and cut the turnover count down to 13 after back-to-back games with over 15.

Gossard and Hecker scored 10 points each for OWU, while three Bishops finished with a trio of rebounds.

Ohio Wesleyan shot 39.7 percent (23-for-58) from the floor and blocked three shots, two of which were logged by Gossard.

In Saturday's first game, New Jersey City University (9-3) cruised past Thiel College (3-8) 106-60. NJCU's Sam Toney scored a game-high 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including a 5-for-8 showing from beyond the arc. Najuan Thomas-Cancel added 13 points, all of which came in the second half. New Jersey City shot a lights-out 65.7 percent (23-for-35) from the floor in the second half en route to a 61-point outburst.

Terrance Holloway's 12 points marked the game-high for Thiel.

Sunday's matchups feature Ohio Wesleyan against Thiel at 2 p.m. with Wooster and NCJU set to clash at 4 p.m.