The men’s basketball team hit the road and travelled to Ohio Wesleyan University last weekend to finish their conference play in the NCAC tournament. On Friday night, they took down #14 Denison en route to the championship game the following day against Ohio Wesleyan. Against Denison, the Scots blasted out of the gate in the second half, extending their lead to 17 points with 18:38 remaining, a hole that Denison could not climb out of.
The Big Red and their raucous student section seemed to have no answer for Dan Fanelly ’17, who smoked past the defense on multiple occasions, unstoppable as he delivered a stellar performance with 32 points and eight rebounds. Another notable in the second half was Milt Davis ’17, who found his stroke, scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting including a three pointer which contributed to his nine straight points in the second half. Spencer Williams ’18 tossed in 10 points on the evening to go along with Eric Bulic ’17’s 11 points and 8 rebounds. Additionally, Mitch Balser ’19 chipped in eight points and a team-high five assists. The win was the Scots’ 20th of the season, extending their historic streak to 21 straight seasons with 20+ wins — a streak that is tied with Duke and behind only Kansas’ mark of 28 seasons.
The Scots displayed a championship worthy performance Saturday afternoon when they cut Ohio Wesleyan’s furious second half comeback attempt short. The Scots led 58-37 with about 12 minutes remaining when the Bishops caught fire, pulling within two points with 47 seconds remaining. The Bishops’ Ben Simpson’s three-point attempt went in-and-out with 13 ticks left that could have put Ohio Wesleyan ahead and could have sealed the game and championship for the #22 Bishops.
The Scots sealed the game with two free throws from Fanelly following the miss. Fanelly put in another stellar performance, and he won the Al Van Wie Award as the tournament’s MVP. He scored a game-high 34 points, and added 9 rebounds and four blocks. Other notable contributors included Williams with 18 points, and Reece Dupler ’19, who added 14 points and six boards.
The championship is the first for the Scots since 2014. The NCAC title sealed an automatic bid in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament that is set to start tonight. Coach Moore was ecstatic following the team’s win. “It’s a good feeling. Going in to this week, it looked like we had to win the tournament to get it done to get in the national tournament, and our guys got it done. I’ve had such great fortune to be blessed with so many good players and great coaches helping me over these years.” The win marked career win number 800 for Coach Moore. He is the 18th NCAA coach to achieve the feat.
The Scots are set to play North Central College in the first round of the NCAA Tournament tonight at 5:30 p.m. on the campus of Hanover College in Hanover, Ind. The Cardinals of North Central won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin’s postseason tournament to clinch a place in the NCAA Tournament. If the Scots win against North Central, they will take on the winner of Hanover College v. Westminster College (Miss.).