The Wooster men’s basketball team had a productive Winter Break. While the general student population was away, the team won seven out of eight games and is riding an eight-game win streak as of press time. The Scots, who are ranked No. 8 in the country, faced one of their biggest challenges of the season on Saturday as they traveled to Delaware, Ohio to take on ninth-ranked Ohio Wesleyan University.
It was a rare shootout for Wooster, which normally relies on a suffocating defense to maintain large leads. Instead, the Scots got 20 points each from Doug Thorpe ’14 and Xavier Brown ’15, plus 19 from Kenny DeBoer ’15 to outlast the Battling Bishops, 88-82. OWU’s Andy Winters led all scorers with 29 points.
Thorpe and DeBoer opened the game’s scoring to give Wooster a 6-0 lead early, but the first half was a nearly even match from there. DeBoer was perfect from the field during the half, while Brown added 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting. The Scots took a 42-40 lead into halftime after Brown hit a jumper with five seconds left before the break.
Winters took over for the Bishops in the second half, scoring 23 points and hitting nine of 12 field goals, including two three-pointers. He accounted for more than half of his team’s second-half points, but the unbalanced OWU attack ultimately failed to take the lead away from Wooster.
Thorpe led the Scots with frequent appearances at the free throw line. He went 10-for-10 from the charity stripe en route to 13 points in the half. The Bishops would not go away, however, tying the game several times and never trailing by less than six points. Wooster was only up 78-75 with 35 seconds left when Jalen Goodwin ’15 hit a three-point dagger to make it at least a two-possession game. Winters hit outside shots of his own to cut the lead to three twice in the closing seconds, but clutch free throws by DeBoer and Brown sealed the game for the Scots.
Wooster shot 50 percent from the field on the night, including 7-of-15 from three-point range. Jake Mays ’13 nearly had a double-double, finishing with 11 points and eight rebounds. Ohio Wesleyan’s Taylor Rieger had 17 points, while Marshall Morris added 12.
The victory improved Wooster’s conference record to 8-0 (14-2 overall), giving them a two-game lead over the Bishops (13-3, 6-2 NCAC). Wittenberg University is right behind in third with a 5-3 NCAC record (12-5 overall). The Scots began a three-game conference homestand this week, taking on Kenyon College (9-8, 3-5) on Wednesday after press time. Tomorrow they will play Hiram College (10-7, 4-4) at 7:30 p.m. They will finish the month by hosting Denison University (5-12, 3-5) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.