Scots Survive Defensive Struggle With Spartans to Reach NCAA Round of 16

Ryan Snyder
Ryan Snyder hit this 3-pointer from the right corner to give Wooster a 45-38 lead with under 4:00 remaining.

WOOSTER, Ohio – Manchester College got off a game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but it was short as The College of Wooster gutted out a 47-45 victory Saturday night at Timken Gymnasium to reach the sectional semifinals (Round of 16) of the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Championship.

The second-round win puts Wooster (28-2) into the sectional round for the second season in a row and the seventh time over the last 13 years, and the Fighting Scots will next play Cabrini College (24-5) at a location to be announced Sunday.

When Nathan Balch hit a jumper from the right side, Wooster appeared to be in good shape with a 47-40 lead and 1:36 to play. Manchester (22-7) mounted a comeback, though, first with Tyler Delauder draining a 3-pointer from just to the right of the top of the key to pull within four.

The Scots then worked the clock under 50 seconds on the ensuing possession before taking an open 3-pointer, but it was off target, and shortly after the Spartans' Jordan Moss controlled the rebound, he was fouled at the 42.2 mark. Moss sunk both to make it a one possession-game at 47-45.

A Wooster drive into the lane came up empty and Manchester rebounded and called timeout with 20.1 seconds remaining. The Spartans didn't waste much time in running their offense and looked for Delauder again. This time, his shot from the right wing was well defended, glancing off the left side of the rim, but Manchester's Mitch Schaefer hustled after the loose ball, throwing it off a Scot out-of-bounds for the rebound with 2.1 ticks left.

After both teams took timeouts, the Spartans ran an in-bounds play to Schaefer, who had made three 3-pointers during the game, however, this deep attempt from the left wing grazed the side of the rim, allowing Wooster to prevail in the defensive struggle.

The Scots' 47 points marked their lowest output since a 46-43 loss to Wittenberg University Jan. 27, 1996, and it was their least amount of points during a victory in 27 years – 41-38 over John Carroll University on Dec. 1, 1984.

Early on, Wooster's offense was clicking pretty well as the hosts jumped out to an 11-2 lead, including seven points from Ian Franks. Manchester called timeout at that point, and for the final 13:26 of the half, the Scots managed just six points, as the Spartans gained an 18-17 advantage.

Defense continued to be the story most of the second half. Manchester did score eight unanswered at one juncture, capped by a Jordan Moss three-point play, for its biggest lead of the day – 31-26 with 11:56 showing on the clock.

Wooster regained the lead at 38-35 around the five and one-half minute mark when Justin Hallowell delivered on a long-distance shot, which gave him 1,000 points for his career, the 37th Scot player to do so.

The Spartans tied it back up two possessions later on another Moss old-fashioned three-point play.

Then, the Scots had their best run since the early stages, scoring on three-straight possessions, highlighted by a 3-pointer from the right corner by Ryan Snyder that gave them a seven-point cushion (45-38) with just under 4:00 to play. Also of note, Wooster caught a break during that stretch as Manchester missed four free throws.

The Scots would go up by seven once more on Balch's jumper before staving off the Spartans' late rally.

Both teams shot under 35 percent from the field, Wooster finishing at .347 (17-for-49) and the Spartans at .302 (16-for-53). The Scots held the rebounding edge 37-32, which allowed them to overcome 16 turnovers.

Franks was Wooster's lone player in double figures with 14 points, while Hallowell led the way in rebounding (9), assists (4), and blocked shots (3). Balch contributed nine points, as did Snyder.

Moss matched Franks with 14 points and Delauder recorded 12 in the setback.