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Men’s basketball comes up short in NCAC tourney

Isabel Abarca
Senior Sports Writer

Battling through the past weekend, the Fighting Scots took on Hiram College last Friday in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) semifinal game and managed to win by a 13-point margin that moved them onto the finals the following day.

On Saturday they faced off against Denison University in the tournament final but fell short by 11 points.

But that wasn’t the end of their season thanks to the at-large bid they received to continue to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Today they head to their 14th consecutive tournament. The game is in Washington, DC, where the Scots will play undefeated Lancaster Bible College (27-0).

The Scots performed well against Hiram last week, pushing past the persisting Terriers by the conclusion of the second half and maintaining that lead until the final buzzer.

It was a contested game, but the Fighting Scots won 92-79.

A handful of players tallied 10 points or more.

Spencer Williams ’18 had a team high of 20 points while Josh Kipfer ’16 tossed up 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.

Reece Duper ’19 also contributed 17 points, and Mitch Balser ’19 added 13 to the score.

Unfortunately, the following day the Scots fell short 92-81 after taking a 10-point lead going into the second half.

Denison was able to tie up the game 73-73 at the end of regulation to send it into overtime.

In overtime, Denison went on a tear, scoring 19 points in the five-minute period.

Wooster could only amass eight points in OT, going scoreless in the final minute.

Denison was only up by four with 57 seconds remaining after Wooster’s Dan Fanelly ’17 made the first of two free throws.

The Scots had to start fouling, and the Big Red went 7-8 from the line. Meanwhile, Wooster turned the ball over twice and went 0-5 from the floor.

Regardless of the loss, Wooster had a good showing with some strong performances.

Fanelly had an impressive game with 28-points and 11 rebounds.

Kipfer also notched another standout game, amassing 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Dupler contributed 12 points while Williams tallied up 10.

Balser, Milt Davis ’17 and Alex Baptiste ’18 also put points on the board.

Although the team did not win the NCAC tournament championship, they earned another chance to keep their season going.

“Our players prepared themselves well for the Conference Tournament,” said Coach Stephen Moore. “They did a lot of good things in both the Hiram and Denison games.”

But moving forward from the two games last weekend, the Fighting Scots have a lot to build on and fight for today at 5:30 p.m.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to play in the National Tournament,” Moore added. “We have a tough assignment in playing an undefeated Lancaster Bible team. But despite the loss to Denison, our team has improved a great deal this season, and we believe we are ready to play our best basketball in March.”

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