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Men’s basketball picks up key NCAC win

Matt Olszewski

Sports Editor

As of Tuesday, Jan. 29, The College of Wooster men’s basketball team has had a very successful season. With a record of 16-3 and a NCAC record of 11-1, the team is tied for 1st place with Wabash College. Their two most notable wins have come against Wittenberg University on Saturday, Jan. 12 and against Wabash on Saturday, Jan. 26. In the game at Wittenberg, Wooster was down by eight points at halftime, but found a way to rally back and outscored Wittenberg 45-29 in the final 20 minutes. They ended up winning that game by a score of 73-65. Danyon Hempy ’20 led the Scots in points with 16 and Wooster brought home the win. Eric Bulic ’19 described his favorite highlight of the season so far. “I’d say [it was] beating Witt at their place. [There is] nothing better than that right there,” said Bulic. The team showed a lot of resilience in that win and tough conference matchup. Hempy was then asked what his favorite thing about the team is. “We are extremely close on and off the court. Playing alongside your best friends makes everything more worth it,” he said. 

After the game at Wittenberg, the highly anticipated rematch against Wabash was another very exciting game for the Scots. It is important to note that Wooster lost to Wabash in their away game against the Little Giants on Dec. 8 by a score of 62-60, so the Scots were definitely looking to get revenge at home on Jan. 26. Trenton Tipton ’20 described how the team felt going into their game against Wabash. “There was definitely a lot of excitement and focus starting from Thursday all the way till game time Saturday,” he said. At the very beginning of the game, the Scots jumped out to an early 14-0 lead not long before Wabash finally started to heat up. They eventually cut the deficit to just five points, and Wooster led 47-42 at the break. Khaylen Mahdi ’22 described how the team felt going into the locker room at halftime. “We prepared vigorously for this matchup just like any other game, it’s just this game meant something a little bit more, a sense of pride was carried with this game. So the emotions were high, as expected, but the key as Coach Moore told us at halftime was to ‘stay poised.’”

Wooster proceeded to outscore Wabash again in the second half, but this time only by two points. Nevertheless, the Scots picked up a huge win and moved into a first-place tie with Wabash in the NCAC. Bulic described what he thought was one of the main contributing factors that played a role in them beating Wabash the second time around. “Our grit was the main reason we pulled it out. We grew a lot this past Saturday afternoon,” said Bulic. Tipton added on and described what happens when the team is in a close game with their opponent. 

“I think what shows the most promise is that when we get into tight games, we continue to play together, and don’t panic, which is going to go a long way for us. We are a very close team,” Tipton said. “We remembered how it felt when we lost up there, and knew we didn’t want that to happen again,” Tipton said. Wooster did just that and executed enough down the stretch and held off Wabash to pick up the win.

Trey Miller ’19 was asked about what he and the team look forward to during the rest of the season. “We have a chance to host the conference tournament. Playing in front of our home crowd in the conference tournament definitely gives us motivation to get the job done each game,” he said. 

Next up, the Scots travel to Ohio Wesleyan on Feb. 2 and look to pick up another key NCAC win. 

 

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