No. 14 Wooster Lights Out in 2019 Opener, Downs DePauw, 103-71

WOOSTER, Ohio – The 14th-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team was locked in offensively to open 2019, as the Fighting Scots made 12 straight field goals during a stretch of the first half, while senior Reece Dupler and junior Danyon Hempy combined to shoot 24-for-29 for the game during the Fighting Scots' 103-71 win over DePauw University on Saturday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium.

Hempy's stick-back on one of the Scots' (10-3, 5-1 North Coast Athletic Conference) rare first-half misses marked the first basket during the consecutive makes streak, and when all was said and done after sophomore Keonn Scott's jumper from just outside the paint with 9:34 to go in the half, Wooster led the contest 39-18.

Reece Dupler
Senior Reece Dupler was 12-for-14 on field-goal attempts during Saturday's win.

Hempy was the initial catalyst during the Scots' strongest stretch with a fast-break old-fashion three-point play, a quick steal, and a jumper in the span of 1:10. After a Hempy rebound, Dupler took the relay and stepped up from beyond the arc en route to scoring 12 of Wooster's next 19 points. Dupler and Hempy both finished with 17 points in the opening half.

DePauw (8-5, 2-4 NCAC), to its credit, played well in the opening half, but couldn't overcome Wooster's hot shooting. The Tigers went 6-for-9 from beyond the arc in the opening 20, compared to the Scots' 7-for-10 showing.

Wooster's torrid shooting from three-point land carried over to the second half, where Hempy and Dupler each knocked down a trifecta in the opening four minutes, during which Wooster's lead ballooned to 25 at 67-42.

The Scots turned in two more signature stretches in the second half, with the first coming with about 14:41 to go in the game. Freshman Khaylen Mahdi's steal led to a Hempy fast-break lay-in, and that was the first of four straight Wooster buckets with an assist. Later, the Scots were after it on the defensive end with a Hempy steal, a Mahdi blocked shot, and a steal by junior Trenton Tipton all coming within a 46-second span. That led to five points off turnovers, and not long after, Scott nailed a pull-up three-pointer on the fast break.

Hempy scored a game-high 30 points on 12-for-15 shooting, in what marked his second 30-point outing of the season. The guard posted the Scots' co-team-high in rebounds (7) and dished out three assists. Dupler was right behind with 28 points and only missed two of his 14 field-goal attempts. The senior dished out a game-high four assists.

Other stats to note include nine points and seven rebounds by Tipton and nine points by Scott.

For the second game in a row, Wooster upped its season-best shooting percentage, this time to 58.9 percent (43-for-73). The Scots connected at 64.9 percent (24-for-37) in the first half, were 11-for-22 from beyond the arc for the game, and tallied 16 fast-break points.

Noteworthy, Saturday marked Wooster's first game with at least 10 three-point makes and a 50-percent success rate since the Scots went 12-for-23 beyond the arc against Oberlin College on Feb. 20, 2016. It was also Wooster's first outing with five or fewer turnovers since only coughing the ball up four times against the Tigers on Feb. 20, 2018.

Nick Felke led DePauw with 12 points, while Josh Hall chipped in 11.

DePauw shot 46.3 percent (25-for-54) for the game, was 15-for-18 at the charity stripe, and only turned the ball over 10 times.

Coincidentally, Wooster's at Oberlin (7-5, 3-2 NCAC) next, with that contest set for a 7 p.m. start on Wednesday, Jan. 9.