The 16th-ranked College of Wooster men's basketball team logged a fine performance on the inside, as the Fighting Scots scored 46 points in the paint and scored 21 points off their 14 offensive rebounds en route to a 79-55 win over Hiram College on Saturday afternoon at Price Gymnasium in Hiram, Ohio.
Wooster (6-0, 2-0 North Coast Athletic Conference) saw 11 of its 39 first-half points come on second-chance opportunities. Senior Eric Bulic scored the Scots' first second-chance bucket with a lay-in at the 17:38 mark. Wooster really started to capitalize on second-chance opportunities late in the half, as Bulic tipped in a bucket to open the Scots' half-closing 6-0 stretch. Sophomore Dontae Williams corralled his second offensive board of the game with 36 ticks left, and senior Reece Dupler kept the momentum going in a positive direction with the Scots' fourth triple of the game right after.
Earlier in the half, senior Blake Blair's three-pointer pushed Wooster ahead of Hiram for good at the 13:15 mark. The Scots' senior was on the mark from range again shortly after, with junior Trenton Tipton's hustle on the offensive glass equating to an extra possession. Freshman JG Gillard's strong low-post move capped the 8-0 run.
Worth noting, the Scots logged assists on 12 of their 16 first-half field goals with Dupler's three leading the way.
Wooster continued to cash in on its offensive rebounds in the second half, as the Scots scored 10 more second-chance points, starting with Tipton's tip-in that made it 54-29 with 13:29 remaining. Less than 20 seconds later, the Scots were at it again, this time with Williams deflecting an offensive rebound to Tipton on the perimeter. The Scots' junior quickly reversed the ball to Dupler, who had a wide-open lane to the basket for the lay-in.
With just over 10:30 remaining, junior Danyon Hempy followed his own miss and tipped the rebound while elevated to Tipton, who quickly laid it back up to make it 60-36.
Later in the half, the Scots had back-to-back buckets come via second-chance opportunities, the latter of which came when Williams followed his own miss and laid the ball back in to up the lead to 69-44 with 5:39 remaining.
Speaking of Williams, the sophomore led the team in scoring for the fourth time this season with a game-high 20 points. Williams added eight rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.
Dupler backed Williams up in the scoring column with 14 points, while Tipton corralled seven rebounds.
Wooster shot 49.2 percent (31-of-63) from the field, logged 43 rebounds – 14 offensive – and passed out 17 assists.
Jalen Kirksey led Hiram (2-3, 0-1 NCAC) with 12 points, while Marcel Rice's seven rebounds marked the team high.
Hiram shot 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the floor, was 4-for-26 from beyond the arc, and had 16 turnovers.
Next, Wooster returns home to host Allegheny College (4-2, 0-1 NCAC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 5.