MEADVILLE, Pa. – A lengthy 22-6 run spanning 5:47 in the second half pulled The College of Wooster men's basketball team comfortably ahead of Allegheny College in an eventual 91-67 win on Wednesday evening at the David V. Wise Center.
Wooster's (8-6, 5-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) win marked Steve Moore's 787th for his career, moving the longtime mentor of the Fighting Scots past Jim Smith (Saint John's University in Minnesota) for second all-time in victories among Div. III men's basketball coaches. Additionally, the win marked Moore's 700th win at Wooster.
"I've been extremely blessed, and I thank God for the opportunity to coach for this many years, and at a place like Wooster," said Moore. "I've been blessed with so many good players because that's what it's about since players win games. I've had outstanding coaches that coached with me – Mike Worrell in the early years, who's now the head coach at Illinois College, and Doug Cline and Bruce Martin have been with us for so many years. Nobody has had continuity like that and we're in a unique situation with the quality coaching that they give us."
Similar to Saturday, Wooster's bench provided an early spark, and once again sophomore Mitch Balser led the charge. The guard drained a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 14-0 run that enabled Wooster to take a 17-4 lead with 13:04 left in the opening half. The Scots' scoring spree saw point contributions from five different student-athletes, including senior Dan Fanelly, who passed out two assists during the stretch. The senior factored heavily into the run in other facets of the game as well with a block prior to a key save on a loose ball on the offensive end of the floor.
Allegheny (4-10, 1-6 NCAC) pulled within six at 29-23 with 3:33 left in the half as the Gators used a trio of 3-pointers and some high-pressure defense to work their way back into the contest. Junior Spencer Williams played a key role in keeping Wooster ahead with seven straight points, while a trifecta from senior Milt Davis extended the lead to 12 at 35-23 with 2:34 left in the stanza.
In the second half, a Jamison Nee 3-pointer pulled Allegheny within five (37-32) with 18:50 to go in the game, but Wooster responded with its 22-6 spurt to open up a 59-38 lead with 12:19 remaining in the game.
At the beginning of the decisive stretch, sophomore Reece Dupler led the way with five points while Fanelly continued his active all-around presence with a bucket and two assists, including on a jumper by first-year guard Danyon Hempy.A few minutes later, Hempy scored 10 points in a span of 1:52 to cap the run. The guard started the scoring tear with a 3-pointer. Later during the run, the first-year guard slammed home a monster one-handed dunk, and nearly finished a reverse one on Wooster's next possession, but was fouled on the way up.
"Danyon really got it going and the guys made some excellent passes to him," Moore said. "There was some really good team work, and that was really good to see. We thought our offensive efficiency was much better in the second half."
Later in the fame, Wooster's defense took over as the Scots came away with steals on three consecutive defensive possessions, including two by Fanelly who finished the first with a dunk and set-up Hempy for his third dunk of the game — this time off of the backboard. Wooster's trio of quick strikes extended the lead out to 24 (74-50) with 6:13 remaining.
Wooster featured a pair of 20-point scorers on the night with Williams (22) and Hempy (21) leading the way. Fanelly finished just shy of a double-double, but it wasn't in points and rebounds, as the senior dished out a career-high nine assists to couple with nine points.
"Dan has been passing the ball really well, and game-in and game-out he's up there with assists," stated Moore. "He's finding the open man and sees the floor really well. When you have a player with that size that can move around like Dan can and pass the ball, that really makes your team tough to defend."
Nee led Allegheny in scoring with 16 points in the contest while Jordan Rawl tallied 14 points and six rebounds on the stat sheet.
Next, Wooster remains on the road for a 7:30 p.m. ET clash at archrival Wittenberg University (9-4, 3-3 NCAC) on Saturday.