WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster men's basketball team took charge with a lengthy 19-2 second-half run spanning 4:53 to right the score in favor of the Fighting Scots, and the Black and Gold never trailing for the duration during an impressive 77-68 win over previously unbeaten Emory & Henry College to cap the 55th annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic on Saturday evening at Timken Gymnasium.
Sophomore Trenton Tipton answered the call when inserted into the game and provided the big spark for Wooster (9-3), which ran its current winning streak out to six games. Tipton opened the game-shifting run with a 3-pointer to cut Wooster's deficit to six at 52-46 with 13:37 remaining, and the sophomore cashed in from beyond the arc on the next trip down the floor thanks to the help of a pair of friendly bounces on the rim.
Then, junior Blake Blair stared down the basket before making it three straight 3-pointers for the Scots as Wooster erased a nine-point deficit in 1:31.
Tipton's hustle repelled the Wasps as he recorded a block and earned the hard-fought defensive rebound prior to Wooster's speedy offense buzzing down the court. Emory & Henry fouled senior Spencer Williams, who went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe with 11:18 remaining to give Wooster its first lead since the midway point of the first half.
Later in the run, Williams knocked down a pair of key jumpers, the second of which capped the scoring spree with Wooster on top 62-54.
Blair's 3-pointer with 7:51 left had Wooster primed to make a run as this time it was the Scots turn to open up a nine-point lead at 65-56. Emory & Henry made things interesting with a pair of 3-pointers of its own, the second of which tied the game at 68 with 3:13 to go.
Williams, the "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic MVP, took charge with a jumper that made it 70-68 with 2:14 remaining, and he knocked down a 3-pointer with :34.6 to go putting the Scots on top by two possessions. All-tournament team honoree Reece Dupler kept any chance for a last-minute comeback at bay with a 4-for-4 line at the charity stripe in the final 24 ticks.
In the first half, Wooster again took ownership of the glass early with "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic Defensive MVP Alex Baptiste leading the way with four of his career-high 20 rebounds in the opening three minutes. The Scots clamped down inside as well with a pair of early blocks, but Wooster's turnovers enabled Emory & Henry to open up an 11-5 lead before the game was five minutes old.
Wooster rebounded with an 11-0 run, and the Scots featured good distribution with four players chipping in points before Williams capped the stretch with a hard-fought jumper in the paint to give the Scots a 16-11 lead with 11:11 left in the opening stanza.
Williams' jumper came on the heels of a block by sophomore Danyon Hempy, and Baptiste had his second swat of the game moments earlier.
Emory & Henry countered with an 8-0 run to take the lead back, and the Wasps led by as many as seven in the first half.
Dupler knotted the game up at 35 on a pair of free throws to cap a five-point Wooster swing with a minute left in the opening stanza, but Emory & Henry knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater by all-tournament team honoree Colin Molden that gave the Wasps a six-point halftime edge at 41-35.
Williams matched his career-high with 25 points, 11 of which came in the first half. The senior shot a red-hot 10-for-16 from the field, and secured four rebounds while passing out two assists.
Noteworthy, Baptiste's 20 rebounds came nearly five years to the day since the last 20-rebound game by a Scot as Jake Mays secured 21 versus John Carroll on the opening day of the 2012 "Mose" Hole/Kiwanis Classic.
Other individual stats to note include Dupler's 15 points and six rebounds and Blair's 12 points.
As a team, Wooster logged nine blocked shots to give the Scots three games with at least eight swats.
Molden led Emory & Henry with 19 points while fellow all-tournament team honoree John Shelor scored 14 points to pair with seven rebounds.
In the consolation game, Worcester Polytechnic Institute outscored Alma College 48-29 in the second half en route to an 88-65 win.
WPI's Reid Walker scored a game-high 23 points and he added 11 rebounds for the double-double. Jake Needleman, one of the standouts from Friday night's loss against Wooster, earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Needleman scored 27 points between the two games thanks in large part to an impressive 8-for-13 mark from beyond the arc.
Alma was led by Steven Harvey's 12 points, while Doug Bradfield rounded out the all-tournament team honorees.
Next, Wooster (3-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) shifts its focus to league play, which resumes next week Saturday, Jan. 6, at first-place and 14th-ranked Ohio Wesleyan University (9-1, 4-0 NCAC). Tip is slated for 3 p.m.