WOOSTER, Ohio – The 21st-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team shot nearly 27 percent better from the floor in the second half, with that equating to a 59-point stanza and a convincing 98-70 win over visiting Hiram College in the opening game of the Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic.
Junior Jaylen Franklin provided the necessary spark for Wooster (2-0, 1-0 North Coast Athletic Conference) in the second half. Franklin secured an offensive rebound at the 12:23 mark, broke free from his defender, and hit a three-pointer to open a 12-5 stretch. The sociology major knocked down a pull-up jumper on the next possession, and then he canned a second three-pointer at the 11:30 mark that bumped Wooster's lead to 67-52. Next, Franklin came away with a steal on a held ball situation, and not long after, junior Dontae Williams capped the run by putting Wooster up 71-55 on a layup.
As the clock ticked under 7:50, senior Danyon Hempy knocked down the first of consecutive three-pointers, and his three free throws with 4:03 remaining bumped the lead past 20 for the duration.
In the opening stanza, Wooster raced out to an 8-0 lead. Hempy drained a bucket from long range after securing an offensive rebound in the first 20 seconds, while junior Keonn Scott doubled the lead with a trifecta of his own with 18:58 remaining.
Later, sophomore Hamilton Johnson earned three points the old-fashion way on the fast-break, as he had the fourth of Wooster's 15 steals near the 14:50 mark of the opening half.
|Junior Jaylen Franklin scored eight points in a span of 48 seconds in the second half on Wednesday.|
Wooster's steals kept leading to points all night long, with the Scots scoring 38 points off of the Terriers' (2-2, 0-1 NCAC) 23 turnovers. That was the case with about eight minutes left in the opening half when sophomore Brandon Styers intercepted Jalen Kirksey's errant pass. The Scots' guard found senior Trenton Tipton in the corner, and he cashed in a three-ball, which upped the lead to a half-high 17 points at 29-12.
Hiram pulled within 39-32 at the half, thanks to a 14-6 run. Kirksey started the run with an and-one bucket, and he canned a three-pointer during the stretch. Brodgie Gordon cut into the lead as well with a pair of trifectas.
Hempy's 27 points led all scorers. He was 8-of-13 from the floor, which included a 4-of-7 ledger from three-point land. The psychology major added three steals, two rebounds, and an assist to his stat line.
Tipton (14), Franklin (13), and Williams (12) rounded out the Scots in double figures in the scoring column, while Tipton's eight rebounds marked the team high. Wooster's big men – junior Peyton Bennington and Williams – passed out four assists each and combined for four steals.
Wooster shot 49.2 percent (32-of-65) from the floor, which was bolstered by an 18-of-28 showing in the second half. The Scots finished with 15 more rebounds than the Terriers and assisted on 19-of-32 field goals.
Gordon paced Hiram with 24 points, while Antonio McQueen's 10 rebounds were the game high.
Hiram shot 44.3 percent (27-of-61) from the floor and had 15 steals in the game.
Wooster closes out the Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic on Saturday, when the Scots take on Wilmington College (1-1) at 4 p.m.