COLUMBUS – With plenty of support in the stands, The College of Wooster men's basketball team capped a tremendous weekend in terms of opportunities with an exhibition game against Ohio State University on Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena. While the score – 88-63 – didn't go the Fighting Scots' way, Wooster turned in several positives to take into the regular season, set to begin with the Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Classic opener versus Oberlin College at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Timken Gymnasium.
"It was another really great opportunity for us to play down here against the Buckeyes," said head coach Steve Moore. "We're just very appreciative of head coach Chris Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon for providing the opportunity to play here. It's a memorable experience for our players."
Sophomore Sherack Malokwu earned the start down low and secured five hard-fought rebounds in his opening four minutes on the court, all of which came on the defensive end, where the Scots' big men had to contend with 2017 all-Big Ten honorable mention honoree Jae'Sean Tate, who finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and four steals in 24 minutes.
Offensively, Wooster didn't get on the board until the 14:58 mark when junior Simon Texidor knocked down a 3-pointer. In fact, that led to an 12-6 run by the Scots that pulled Wooster within 16-12 with 10:36 remaining in the opening half. During the run, Texidor knocked down two more 3-pointers and the Euclid, Ohio native had a key contest on the defensive end of the floor.
Sticking with the defense, junior Trey Miller's hustle deep in the Buckeyes' backcourt led to a steal, and the Scots again poked it away from Ohio State, this time by senior Alex Baptiste with 11:38 to go in the opening half.
Junior Eric Bulic was the one who pulled the Scots within five on a put-back after an offensive rebound with 11:56 to go before halftime.
Just over a minute later, Wooster pulled one point closer at 16-12 when sophomore Trenton Tipton split a pair of free throws to cap the run. A few trips up the court after that, Baptiste knocked down a 3-pointer to keep Wooster within striking distance at 22-16 with 8:30 to go in the half.
That's when Ohio State started to find its groove as an 11-3 run over a span of 3:08 made it 34-19 with 4:12 left in the first half, and the Buckeyes ended the stanza with a 39-22 lead.
Notable, Wooster actually one-upped Ohio State in the rebounding department in the first half with Malokwu leading the way with six.
|Senior Spencer Williams drives to the hoop in the second half of Wooster's exhibition contest at Ohio State on Sunday.|
Wooster clicked offensively with just under 17:00 remaining on the contest as the Scots scored on three straight possessions. Texidor drained a fourth 3-pointer to start the spark and a nifty floater by Miller and a spiffy pull-up bucket by senior Spencer Williams capped the offensive spurt. Unfortunately, the Scots were unable to chip away at the deficit as Ohio State poured in three straight field goals as well.
Later, Texidor nailed a fifth trifecta in the contest with 13:13 to go.
Other second half highlights included a fine offensive rebound and layup by Bulic, two blocks and a trio of 3-pointers by sophomore Danyon Hempy, and a hustle steal by Miller.
Notable, Wooster cut its turnovers in half from the first half to the second stanza as the Scots only coughed it up eight times over the final 20 minutes en route to a 41-point second half. In retrospect, that was within eight points of Ohio State's 49 points in the second stanza.
Hempy and Texidor scored a co-game-high 17 points to lead the way for Wooster while Hempy and Williams secured seven rebounds each. Other stats of note include four assists by Williams.
Keita Bates-Diop led the way for Ohio State with 17 points and nine rebounds.