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Men’s basketball off to fast start while women struggle

The men’s basketball team is off to a blazing hot start this season. Before playing Allegheny College (4-4, 1-1 NCAC) on Wednesday after press time, the Scots were 6-0 (2-0 NCAC) and ranked number one in the nation, according to the weekly poll at D3hoops.com. This is the first time that Wooster has been the top-ranked team since 2006.

Although the team lost their exhibition match against Div. I Ohio University on Oct. 31, the Scots have been unstoppable since then, defeating Cincinnati Christian University and Bethany College and winning the Radisson Carnegie Mellon Invitational with victories over Ohio Northern University and Carnegie Mellon University. The Scots started NCAC play with two wins over Hiram College and Denison University. Wooster’s offense has been unstoppable. Four of the Scots’ five starters, Ian Franks ’11, Nathan Balch ’11, Matt Fegan ’12 and Bryan Wickliffe ’11 have shot over 50 percent from the field. Franks, Fegan and Justin Hallowell ’12 are shooting over forty percent from three-point range. The team dropped 103 points on Cincinnati Christian on Nov. 17.

The Scots win games with great defense too. In their 81-51 victory over Denison (4-3, 2-1 NCAC) on Saturday, they held the Big Red to just 32.1 percent shooting, including a six-of-24 performance in the first half, ended the first half on a 22-8 run, and started the second on a 28-8 run. It was the fifth time this year that Wooster held an opponent to less than 40 percent shooting. Offensively, the Scots were incredibly balanced with all five starters scoring in double digits.

Wooster had a much closer competition against Hiram (3-4, 0-2 NCAC) on Dec. 1. Leading 48-46 against the Terriers in the second half, the Scots pulled away with an 18-2 run to make it 66-48 before ultimately winning 74-60. The run was keyed by Wooster’s tough defense again, which allowed only eight-of-32 shooting from Hiram in the second half.

Wooster’s women’s team is off to a much rougher start. The women are 1-5, 0-1 NCAC, not including their game at Ursuline College played Wednesday after press time. The Scots lost in a heartbreaker to Hiram (4-0, 1-0 NCAC) on Dec. 1, blowing an 11-point second half lead to the Terriers and losing 62-58 after being held scoreless for nearly eight minutes in the second half.

Wooster was able to recover from Hiram’s 17-0 run, with Suvi Puripattarapan ’14 and Karley Walker ’14 draining three-pointers to tie the game at 58 with 27 seconds left. However, Hiram’s Jessica Cowan nailed two free throws and the Terriers held Wooster without a shot on their final possession.

The men and the women both play at Ohio Wesleyan University (men 3-4, 1-0 NCAC; women 3-5, 0-0 NCAC) tomorrow in Delaware, OH.

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