Scots' Offense Icy in Second Half of NCAA Round-of-16 Loss

Xavier Brown
Xavier Brown attacks the basket while being guarded by Cabrini's A.J. Williams during the first half of the Fighting Scots' eventual 70-63 loss.

WOOSTER, Ohio – After making four of its first six field goals of the second half to take a 47-42 lead, The College of Wooster shot just 3-of-20 from the floor the rest of the game as Cabrini College advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Championship with a 70-63 decision over the Fighting Scots in Timken Gymnasium on Saturday night.

Wooster, part of the Round of 16 of the national tournament for the ninth time in 15 years, sees its season come to an end with a 24-6 record and North Coast Athletic Conference championship, while Cabrini (25-5) heads to Salem, Va., next week.

Following a first half that featured a series of big runs, with the Cavaliers eventually holding a slight 40-39 edge, the Scots hit their opening three shots of the second for a five-point lead (45-40). They bumped it to five again a couple possessions later (47-42), then went the next 12-plus minutes with just a single made field goal as Cabrini went ahead 63-56.

That decisive stretch saw Wooster at 1-for-12 from the field, plus six of its 10 turnovers for the game, and 7-for-11 at the free throw line.

Despite all that, the Scots were still close when Doug Thorpe connected on a jumper that pulled them within 63-58 with about 4:30 remaining. After a defensive stop, Wooster nearly made it a one-possession game, however, an open 3-pointer from the left corner did not fall nor did an attempted tip-in.

At the 3:39 mark, the Cavaliers' Tim McDaniels sunk two free throws to push their lead to seven (65-58) and the Scots split a pair from the line on their ensuing possession.

Next, Jeremy Knowles muscled his way inside for a bucket and 67-59 Cabrini advantage, followed by Wooster making just 1-of-2 at the charity stripe again (67-60).

The Scots' defense helped induce a shot-clock violation, and on the offensive side, they had another open look at a 3-pointer, this time from the right corner, but it was off the mark.

Knowles scored on an offensive put-back to push the Cavaliers' advantage to 69-60 with about 1:25 left, and Wooster misfired on another shot from outside the arc as the game started slipping away, with Cabrini eventually finishing off a seven-point win.

In the first half, the Scots started out hot, taking a series of nine-point leads, including 20-11. Moments later, it was 24-17 and then the Cavaliers put together a 16-0 run to go up by nine (33-24) themselves. Wooster closed the half strong, turning a 10-point deficit (38-28) into one with an 11-2 stretch into halftime.

The Scots' cold-shooting second half left them at 36.7 percent for the game (22-for-60) and they also left a lot of points at the free throw line, going 11-for-18 there (.611). Cabrini nearly shot 50 percent (.483; 29-for-60) and outrebounded Wooster 45-34.

Thorpe paced the Scots with 21 points, which included 5-of-8 3-point shooting, and three assists, and Xavier Brown had 17 points. Also of note, Kenny DeBoer put in 10 points and Josh Claytor fell just one point shy of a double-double (9 points, 10 rebounds) in his final career game. It also marked the last game of fellow senior center Jake Mays's career.

Cabrini standout Aaron Walton-Moss tallied game highs of 24 points, 12 rebounds, and five steals, a career high in the latter category, while the visitors also got a nice boost from McDaniels, who had 17 points, the second-highest total of his career.