Wooster Into Round of 16 After Decisive Win Over Capital

Justin Warnes
Justin Warnes made this basket while being fouled near the end of the first half, giving the Fighting Scots a 41-30 lead at the time.

WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster ended the first half on an 11-2 stretch and started the second with a 9-1 run, adding up to a 19-point cushion (52-33), and the margin never got any closer than 16 until the benches had been emptied, as the Fighting Scots eventually secured a 92-79 win during second-round action of the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Championship Saturday at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster (26-4) is now part of the NCAA sectional round (Round of 16) for the eighth time in 14 seasons and will play Illinois Wesleyan University (21-7) at a location to be announced on Sunday.

Tied 26-26 just about 15 minutes into the game, the Fighting Scots then crept out to a four-point lead. Shortly thereafter, with it still a four-point margin at 32-28 with 3:41 in the half, Wooster scored six unanswered. The run was halted briefly by Capital (19-10), only to see the Scots toss in five more points before the break, highlighted by a Justin Warnes' old-fashioned three-point play that helped make it an 11-point game at halftime (43-32).

The Crusaders came back from a double-digit halftime deficit during their first-round victory, but Wooster would quickly deny any chance of a repeat performance. The Scots opened up with nine of the first 10 points of the second, and not long after, extended the margin into the 20s.

The lead got up to as much as 26 on three occasions, and a Justin Hallowell 3-pointer put the score at 90-66 right before the benches emptied at the 3:11 mark.

Wooster had a very efficient night offensively, making 52.6 percent of its field goals (30-for-57) and 76.2 percent at the free throw line (23-for-30). The latter was a big difference, as Capital struggled, hitting just 56.3 percent of its freebies (18-for-32), while the visitors finished at 42.4 percent overall from the floor (25-for-59). The Scots outrebounded the Crusaders 38-32.

Five Wooster players reached double figures, paced by Hallowell's fifth 20-point effort in his last seven games. The senior forward tallied 20 exactly, including 5-of-8 3-pointers, to go with a game-high nine rebounds. Also of note, Hallowell eclipsed the 300 mark for career 3-pointers (303).

Xavier Brown scored 18 points, 16 coming in the first half, while Warnes added a career-high 14 as well as eight boards and four assists. Josh Claytor chipped in 12 points, including 8-of-10 free throws, and Jalen Goodwin notched the second double-digit game of his young career with 11.

One last note from the Wooster side, and it's very significant, as Matt Fegan broke an NCAA Div. III career record with his 125th game played. The previous record was held by Virginia Wesleyan College's Tonton Balenga (124; 2005-08).

For Capital, Michael Sommers scored a team-high 15 points and Damon Dillard provided a significant lift, tallying 14 to bump his season average to 2.8 per game.