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Men’s basketball grinds it out, women fall short vs. DePauw

Ben Blotner
Sports Editor

The Fighting Scots men’s and women’s basketball teams were both in action Saturday against DePauw University. Wooster’s women came up short against the Tigers at Neal Fieldhouse in Greencastle, Ind., while the men pulled off a 65-57 victory at Timken Gymnasium that saw Spencer Williams ’18 surpass the 1,500-point threshold for his Wooster career.

The DePauw women’s team had Wooster’s number from the start, jumping out to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes and never looking back. Claire Keefe ’21 and Sydney Kopp ’20 led the Tigers with 16 points apiece, while Maya Howard ’19 and Emily Budde ’18 also reached double digits.

Multiple turnovers by the Scots were critical in helping DePauw build its early edge. After allowing a 13-2 run to start the game, Wooster got back in it with layups by Maria Janasko ’21 and Kylie Orr ’20, followed by a three-pointer from Aki Shurelds ’18 that trimmed the deficit to 15-11. However, DePauw answered with a jumper from Hayley Cange ’21 and a layup by Kylie Morris ’18 to finish the first quarter at 19-11. Four points by Janasko early in the second quarter allowed Wooster to get within 21-15, but the Scots would get no closer the rest of the way, as DePauw responded by firing off seven straight points.

The Tigers continued to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring Wooster 19-13 to stretch the lead to 53-32. Orr hit a pair of three-pointers in the final quarter, but it was not enough as DePauw held on for a 77-48 win.

Orr had an impressive game for the Scots, with her 16 points tying for the lead among all scorers. Janasko contributed eight points and Shurelds seven.

On the men’s side, the Scots were able to grind out a win in a tight battle that was competitive to the finish. “The team performance, I believe, dwells on both our on- and off-the-court relationship,” said Sherack Malokwu ’20. “We strive to support each other to achieve greatness.”

Williams is an integral part of this teamwork. On Saturday, he became just the 10th Fighting Scot to eclipse the 1,500-point plateau, reaching the mark with a layup toward the end of the first half. His teammates had glowing things to say about the senior and his work ethic.

“Spencer’s dedicated passion to the game of basketball, his personal shoot-around nights before games and after games… it was no surprise,” said Malokwu.

“His scoring milestone isn’t a fluke,” said Ari Stern ’18. “It’s a testament to how hard he works on his game. There is no one that works harder than Spencer, and it clearly shows through his accomplishments.”

Williams led all scorers with 20 points while also grabbing six rebounds. Reece Dupler ’19 helped the cause with nine points and Alex Baptiste ’18 added eight.

The teams battled to an 11-11 tie that lasted over a minute before the Scots went on a 9-0 run powered by Dupler and Trenton Tipton ’20, a stretch that included a shot drained from downtown by Tipton. This left Wooster with a 20-11 edge.

The Tigers, however, would not go down without a fight, making a push and ultimately knotting it at 25 on another downtown shot from Vogel. Wooster regained the lead on a three from Keonn Scott ’21 before Williams’ milestone layup made it 32-27 at the conclusion of the first half.

DePauw stormed back in the second half and evened the score at 34 with a jump shot from Jack VandeMerkt ’18. VandeMerkt was fouled on the play, and the and-one gave his team a short-lived 35-34 lead. Danyon Hempy ’20 responded with a jumper that put Wooster ahead to stay. The Scots soon expanded their lead to 49-40.

Continuing to battle, the Tigers twice pulled back to within a point, but Wooster got the lead back to seven and it was never closer than four again. A pair of late steals and some impressive free throw shooting helped Wooster close the deal, with the final score tallying 65-57.

Josh Hall ’21 was DePauw’s leading scorer with 13 points, while Vogel and VandeMerkt racked up 12 and 11, respectively.

The Fighting Scots stayed hot with their fourth consecutive win and 12th in their last 13 contests. They will try to keep the streak going with a victory at Oberlin College at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31. The women’s team also plays at Oberlin that day, tipping off at 6 p.m.

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