WOOSTER, Ohio – Senior Spencer Williams and sophomore Danyon Hempy recorded season-highs in points with 18 and 16 respectively, and Hempy recorded four of the 25th-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team's eight blocks, but visiting Wabash College captured the win in a back-and-forth North Coast Athletic Conference contest 85-72 on Saturday afternoon at Timken Gymnasium.
Wooster (3-3, 1-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) retook the lead with 18:04 remaining in the contest on a 3-pointer by junior Blake Blair, and a minute later Williams recorded a steal and made the layup in traffic on the other end of the floor to bump the Scots' lead out to three at 44-41. Next, a Hempy jumper pushed the Scots' lead out to five at 50-45 with 14:56 remaining.
Just over three minutes later, Wabash's Connor Rotterman knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the contest at 54, and his 3-pointer at tail end of the decisive 8-0 run pushed Wabash ahead 59-54 with 10:07 remaining, a lead never relinquished by the Little Giants.
In fact, Rotterman hit his third 3-pointer of the half at the 9:36 mark, and that staked Wabash to a six-point lead at 62-56.
Wooster charged back with a strong effort over the next 1:20, with a Hempy 3-pointer capping a 5-0 spurt that pulled Wooster within one at 62-61. However, Wabash countered :24 later with a Rhett Helt field goal from beyond the arc making it a two-possession game.
Wabash's Harrison Hallstrom scored seven of his 17 points down the stretch to keep the Little Giants on top, while Alex Eberhard and Jack Davidson each went 4-for-4 at the charity stripe in the final minute to help Wabash maintain at least a three-possession lead.
Wabash opened up an 8-2 lead just 2:14 into the contest when Hallstrom cleaned up on the offensive glass prior to a layup. In fact, the Little Giants extended their lead out to 15-8 at the 13:46 mark before the Scots found their groove.
Senior Alex Baptiste, who had 10 rebounds by halftime, sparked a 10-2 Scots' run which ended with a spectacular lay-in by freshman Keonn Scott to give Wooster its first lead of the game at 18-17 with 9:13 to go in the opening half. Fellow freshman Josh Lotko added a big and-one to pull Wooster within a point, and he had the big offensive rebound prior to Scott's floating lay-in. In fact, Wooster dominated in the rebounding department early on as Lotko's board marked the Scots' ninth on the offensive end, but it was only the second one cashed in for second-chance points.
Wabash quickly took the lead back on a Davidson layup with 9:01 left in the opening half, but sophomore Sherack Malokwu had a fine jumper in the paint to tie the game at 22, and on the Scots' next possession, junior Simon Texidor knocked down a 3-pointer to push Wooster on top 25-24.
After nine total lead changes in the first half, the two teams settled for a 36-36 tie at the half, with Hallstrom's jumper with :43 remaining tying the score for the fourth time in the contest.
For the game, Baptiste finished with 14 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive end. The senior added three blocks to complement Hempy's four.
Eberhard led all scorers with 20 points, and all five starters for Wabash finished in double figures. Hallstrom complemented his 17 points with 11 rebounds and three of the Little Giants' five blocked shots.
For the game, Wabash shot 43.5 percent (30-for-69), while Wooster went 30-for-74 from the floor, good for 40.5 percent.
Wooster remains at home to take on Hiram College (2-3, 1-0 NCAC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6.