After never leading during regulation, Alex LaLonde lifted The College of Wooster to overtime via a put-back lay-up with 1.4 seconds remaining in the second half, but Wittenberg University used a series of free throws during the extra session to pull out an 82-77 win Saturday night in Springfield, Ohio, as the two teams added another riveting chapter to one of the nation's best small-college rivalries.
Wooster (10-5, 6-2 North Coast Athletic Conference), which slipped into second-place in the conference standings, battled back all night, including from 61-50 with about five minutes remaining. Then, freshmen Reece Dupler, Mitch Balser, and Jordan Stock accounted for seven quick points to pull the visitors within four.
Shortly thereafter, a Spencer Williams 3-pointer made it a 63-61 game at the 3:15 mark.
Wittenberg (10-5, 5-3 NCAC) answered and continued to hold a 2-to-4-point advantage until Dan Fanelly dropped in a pair of free throws to bring the deficit to 68-67 with 21 seconds left in regulation.
Forced to foul following a successful in-bounds pass, the Scots sent Alex Fultz to the free throw line. The Tigers' senior forward made the first, but missed the second, giving Wooster a chance to tie or go for the win.
Fanelly's mid-range jumper was off the mark, but LaLonde was in the right place to extend the game.
Midway through the overtime, the Scots gained their first lead when Fanelly converted an old-fashioned three-point play, which put the score at 74-71.
Cody Phillippi of Wittenberg accounted for the next seven points, all from the free throw line, resulting in the Tigers not only regaining the lead but making it a two-possession game (78-74) with just under a minute on the clock.
Fanelly halted Wooster's scoreless streak by nailing a 3-pointer with :40 to go.
Phillippi again was fouled, this time on a drive to the basket at the :18 mark, and he sunk both to extend Wittenberg's lead to three.
The Scots then turned the ball over, effectively ending their eight-game win streak in the rivals' series.
The Tigers owned a slight 34-33 lead at halftime, then opened the second half on a 9-0 run for their first double-digit cushion.
Wooster came back to within 52-47 around the midway point of the half, only to see Wittenberg retake the momentum over the following five minutes, building that 61-50 cushion.
Fanelly scored a game-high 26 points on 8-of-13 field goals and 9-of-11 free throws, while Balser chipped in 10 points plus a team-leading three assists. LaLonde led all players in rebounds (9) and steals (3).
Chad Roy paced the Tigers in the scoring department with 19 points and Phillippi's free throw spree propelled him to 16.
The Scots will look to bounce back on Wednesday night when they host Allegheny College (2-13, 2-6 NCAC) at 7:30 p.m.