The Fighting Scots men’s basketball team defeated Oberlin College 97-56 to tie Ohio Wesleyan University for first place during the NCAC regular season on Saturday. According to Woosterathletics.com, this is the first regular-season tie since 1992-93.
Wooster finishes the regular season 19-6 overall and 15-3 in conference.
While the contest was never in question — the Scots led from the outset — it was an emotional evening nevertheless. It was Senior Day and the first game since the team learned that Alex LaLonde ’16, a team captain and starter, would not be able to play in any of the remaining contests for medical reasons.
“Our players were in a very good frame of mind for the Oberlin game and played very well at both ends of the floor,” said head coach Steve Moore. “They were highly motivated and determined to capture the regular season championship. They wanted to win for Alex LaLonde who learned on Thursday that he would not be able to play anymore.”
The Scots shot 58.1 percent from the floor while also amassing 36 rebounds and scoring 32 points off of turnovers.
Mitch Balser ’19 led the team in scoring with 16 points on 6-12 shooting, including 3-7 from beyond the arc.
Alex Baptiste ’18 added 11 rebounds to go with 11 points in 22 minutes, notching his second double-double of the season.
Wooster faced Oberlin again in the NCAC tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 23, near press time.
Prior to the game, Moore stated, “It is good to be heading into the conference tournament with momentum. We must make certain we do not have a letdown as we face Oberlin again on Tuesday. Oberlin will play much better this time, and we need to expect the game to be very competitive.”
His words proved prophetic, as Oberlin kept the score much closer during their second match. The final ended with Wooster on top, 78-63.
Early, though, the game looked like it was revving up to be another blowout. The Fighting Scots opened the game with a 12-0 run in the first four minutes.
The Yeomen were down by double digits for most of the rest of the match, with the lead swelling to more than 20 points. However, Oberlin cut the deficit to nine with 1:37 left in the game. They got no closer, though; Wooster kept them from scoring for the next 97 seconds.
Wooster’s Spencer Williams ’18 led all scorers with 17, while Dan Fanelly ’17 had more rebounds than all other players with 10.
The NCAC tournament play continues tonight and tomorrow at top-seeded Ohio Wesleyan University. Semifinal games take place at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., while the championship game is tomorrow at 5 p.m.