Bulic's Career Night, Wooster's Second-Half Offensive Explosion Enable Scots to Pull Away From Terriers, 91-70

Eric Bulic
Danyon Hempy

WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Eric Bulic scored 17 of his career-high 23 points in the second half, while collectively, The College of Wooster men's basketball team scored 56 second-half points during a 91-70 win over visiting Hiram College on Wednesday evening at Timken Gymnasium.

Wooster, (4-3, 2-2 North Coast Athletic Conference) which shot 21-for-33 from the floor over the final 20 minutes, took the lead for good with 15:00 remaining in the contest thanks to a pair of free throws by senior Spencer Williams that gave the Scots a 46-44 lead. In fact, Williams' free throws sparked the Scots on a 6-0 run, and the Scots led 50-44 with 13:54 remaining.

Senior Alex Baptiste switched the momentum Wooster's way leading up to the go-ahead run when he slipped past a Hiram (2-4, 1-1 NCAC) defender and had a wide-open dunk that at the time gave the Scots a 42-40 lead prior to the Terriers Isaiah Matthews knotting the game up at 44.

Later, the Scots were firing on all cylinders with three different players – Williams, Bulic, and junior Reece Dupler – knocking down 3-pointers during a 10-2 stretch that extended Wooster's lead to double digits for the second time of the contest, and the advantage ballooned to 13 at 62-49 with 10:44 remaining after Dupler's 3-pointer.

Wooster's team speed took over and helped push the lead to 15 at 68-53 with 8:15 to go when Bulic finished a fast-break layup thanks in large part to a big assist by Williams.

In fact, the Scots were firing on all cylinders at that point as Dupler saved a long defensive rebound from going out of bounds, and at the other end of the floor, sophomore Danyon Hempy alertly secured an offensive rebound by getting the ball to deflect off a Terrier before stepping out of bounds.

Wooster was running away with the game early, thanks in large part to the play of first-year Keonn Scott. Scott, making his first collegiate start, knocked down a 3-pointer with 19:10 left in the opening half, and then promptly came away with a steal before feeding the ball ahead to Williams, who capped the fast-break opportunity with a lay-in. Then, Hempy knocked down the second of the Scots' 10 3-pointers on the night to give Wooster a 9-1 lead less than two minutes into the game.

Hiram's Terrence Warren led the Terriers' bounce back as his jumper with 16:14 to go in the opening stanza led to a 7-0 run which cut Wooster's lead down to three at 13-10 with 13:29 to go in the opening stanza.

Warren was Hiram's focal point with 6:26 to go in the first half as he knocked down a jumper to make it a one-possession game, and then with 3:46 to go, Warren drained a 3-pointer to pull the Terriers within one at 25-24. Hiram eventually took a 36-35 lead with :00.3 remaining in the opening half after Jalen Kirksey sank a pair of free throws.

Bulic, who secured 11 rebounds to pair with his 23 points, nearly doubled his previous career high as the junior scored 13 against Skidmore College in his second collegiate game back on Nov. 21, 2015.

Noteworthy, the Scots had three players finish with 20-point games as Hempy went 8-for-10 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, to finish with a season-high 22 points. Williams added a season-high in the scoring column as well with 21 points, and his six assists were one shy of matching a career-high.

Other stats to note include Baptiste's six rebounds, and Williams three steals.

Kelvin Jones led Hiram with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Warren finished with 11 points.

For the game, Hiram was held to 40 percent (22-of-55) shooting.

Next, Wooster kicks off a three-game road trip with a 2 p.m. contest at DePauw University (2-4, 0-2 NCAC) on Saturday.