|Xavier Brown puts up a jumper during opening-round NCAA action Saturday. Brown scored 17 points in Wooster's win.|
WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster's defense paved the way for an opening-round NCAA Div. III Championship win over Penn State Behrend, as the Fighting Scots recorded a season-low .283 defensive field-goal percentage en route to the 62-44 decision Saturday night inside Timken Gymnasium.
Wooster (23-5) will next face Dickinson College (21-7), an 80-65 victor over Marietta College.
Against Penn State Behrend (20-9), the Fighting Scots got off to a slow start offensively, scoring just one field goal and five total points through seven minutes, but their defense kept it close.
Then, Wooster's DeVaughn Wingard and Doug Thorpe connected on 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, followed by a Jake Mays bucket in the paint as the hosts gained a 13-6 lead at the midway point of the half. From there, the Scots steadily pushed the lead out to double figures, including 37-25 at the break after Xavier Brown closed the opening 20 minutes with a 3-pointer.
Brown scored the first five points of the second half and added a nice assist to Evan Pannell for an alley-oop dunk as Wooster quickly extended its advantage to 44-25. The Lions never got any closer than 15 the rest of the way.
In addition to holding Penn State Behrend to 15-of-53 shooting from the floor, the Scots outrebounded their visitors 46-26 in the unusually one-sided NCAA Tournament game. The only down side on Wooster's side of the statistics was 16 turnovers, but it overcame that with a .420 field-goal rate (21-for-50).
Brown led all players with 17 points and nine rebounds, as the guard finished just one board short of a double-double. Thorpe scored all 10 of his points during the first half and Kenny DeBoer matched him with 10 for the game.
The Lions' top scorers, Russ Conley and Nick DeLisio, were limited to a combined 5-of-23 shooting. Conley led the way with 15 points on five field goals and five free throws.
The site of next Saturday's Dickinson-Wooster will be announced on Sunday by the NCAA.