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Basketball teams get underway

Travis Marmon

Sports Editor

The Wooster men’s basketball team is going to be defined by its youth this season. Two years removed from an appearance in the Div. III National Championship Game, there are just two seniors on the 2012-13 roster. Three starters from last season’s Sweet 16 squad were lost to graduation: Matt Fegan, Justin Warnes and third-team All-American Justin Hallowell. Still, it is difficult to be worried about the College’s most successful athletic program — a team that has been to 10 straight NCAA Tournaments.

The Scots will have most of their experience up front, where Josh Claytor ’13 and Jake Mays ’13 will look to dominate inside. Claytor led the NCAC in field goal percentage last year at 61.5 percent, while Mays was a key contributor off the bench with 6.1 points per game. Both seniors play center, but expect them to be on the floor together with Clayton at power forward when coach Steve Moore needs more size in his lineup.

The backcourt will be led by Xavier Brown ’15, who had a spectacular first season, earning first-team All-NCAC honors and being named Great Lakes Region Rookie of the Year and NCAC Newcomer of the Year by D3hoops.com. Brown is the biggest scoring threat on Wooster’s roster, having averaged 12.9 points a game in 2011-12. Jalen Goodwin ’15 and Evan Pannell ’15 will likely fill out the backcourt, with Goodwin at point guard and Pannell on the wing. Doug Thorpe ’14 and Scott Purcell ’14 are expected to provide some veteran experience coming off of the bench.

The Scots held their own in their annual preseason road trip to a Div. I school, falling 61-46 to the University of Wyoming on Nov. 3. Wooster held the Cowboys to just 36.2 percent shooting from the floor. The Scots open the regular season tonight against Carnegie Mellon University as part of the Al Van Wie Rotary Classic in Timken Gymnasium. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. Tomorrow they will play either Adrian College or Otterbein University.

The women’s basketball team now has the experience that has been missing from the last few rough seasons. Five juniors, as well as Jessica Wingen ‘13 in the middle now lead a roster that was dominated by raw first-years two years ago. The Scots hope that this experience will lead them to greatly improve upon last season’s 3-21 record.

Wingen was an all-NCAC honorable mention last year with 10.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. While she will be the key to Wooster’s offense, she will receive help from guards Suvi Puripattarapan ’14, Karley Walker ’14 and Maura Hall ’14. Walker is the Scots’ best outside threat, while Puripattarapan’s 2.1 steals per game and Hall’s 5.3 rebounds per game should provide numerous scoring opportunities.

Wooster has a schedule that should make it easy to start out strong. Eight of the Scots’ first nine games are at home, including their first two conference matchups against Allegheny College (Nov. 28) and Hiram College (Dec. 1). They begin the season tomorrow with the Nan Nichols Classic, opening against Franciscan University at 3 p.m. in Timken Gymnasium. On Sunday the Scots will play Westminster College (Pa.) at 3 p.m.

 

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