DELAWARE, Ohio – In Saturday’s only clash of top-10 teams, No. 8 Wooster outlasted No. 9 Ohio Wesleyan, staying just a few points ahead for the final 10 minutes and emerging from Branch Rickey Arena with an 88-82 victory and a two-game lead in the North Coast Athletic Conference standings.
With Wooster (14-2, 8-0 NCAC) clinging to a three-point lead with under a minute to play, Jalen Goodwin collected a pass from Kenny DeBoer and drained a 3-pointer from the right corner in front of the Fighting Scots’ bench for an 81-75 advantage at the :35 mark.
Ohio Wesleyan (13-3, 6-2 NCAC) pulled within three again twice more at 83-80 and 85-82, only to see Wooster close it out by not turning the ball over while connecting on 7 of 8 free throws after Goodwin’s 3-ball.
The Scots scored the opening six points, then the Battling Bishops made an extended 12-3 run. They continued to go back-and-forth, but one of the key stretches was after Ohio Wesleyan took a 37-31 lead – its largest of the game – Wooster closed the half on an 11-3 stretch to retake the lead at 42-40.
The Scots carried that momentum over the break, extending their advantage to seven (53-46) early in the second. Then, it was the Bishops turn to put together a run as they scored nine unanswered. A little later, the score was tied 58 when DeBoer hit a 3-pointer with 10:35 left and Wooster maintained the lead for the remainder.
Overall, there were 15 ties and 14 lead changes. The most glaring statistic of the game was a combined 54 fouls — 27 on each team. Wooster owned a slight advantage at the free throw line, converting 29 of 39 (.744), compared to Ohio Wesleyan’s 26 of 38 (.684).
The Scots also shot well from 3-point range, knocking down 7 of 15 (.467), and were an even 50 percent from the field (26-for-52), while owning a 35-29 edge in rebounding.
Xavier Brown and Doug Thorpe, Wooster’s starting backcourt, scored 20 points apiece. Brown made 7 of 15 from the field, while the majority of Thorpe’s came on free throws (12 of 13).
DeBoer went for a career-high 19 points coming on a proficient shooting day as he canned all six of his shots from the floor, including three 3-pointers, while Jake Mays also hit double figures with 11 points and was the Scots’ top rebounder with eight.
Wooster was able to overcome a career outing from the Bishops’ point guard Andy Winters, who exploded for 29 points, which included 12 of 16 field goals (2 of 2 3-pointers).