Well-Rounded Effort at Both Ends of Floor Propels Wooster to 81-67 Win Over Brockport in Mauro Panaggio Championship Game

Alex Baptiste
Sherack Malokwu

Senior Spencer Williams matched his career-high with 25 points and was named the MVP of the inaugural Mauro Panaggio Tournament, and fellow all-tournament team honoree Alex Baptiste recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, as The College of Wooster men's basketball team won the championship game 81-67 over The College at Brockport, State University of New York on Monday afternoon at the DME Sports Complex in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Williams again was at the forefront of some of Wooster's (7-3) game-changing moments. In fact, the Fighting Scots earned some hard-fought breathing room at halftime as Wooster led 38-32 aft the break after a single point differentiated the Black and Gold and their previous three opponents at halftime.

Williams' 3-pointer at the 8:27 mark of the opening stanza opened a 20-4 run for the Scots after the Golden Eagles (7-3) had opened up a six-point lead at 21-15 with a lay-in by David Clark closing out the preceding 10-0 Brockport stretch.

Wooster's run ended with the Scots on top 35-25 with 3:45 remaining in the half after Dupler capped the scoring spree by banking in a floater of the glass.  Dupler, an all-tournament team honoree, was one of the focal points offensively during the run as that's when he scored eight of his 10 first-half points, four of which came on a pair of floaters in the paint. On the first floater, Dupler went coast-to-coast after a steal, caused in large part by Baptiste's suffocating defense that forced a turnover by Brockport's Justin Summers, who led the Golden Eagles in the scoring column with 10 points at halftime.

The Scots' offensive rebounding factored heavily into the run as well. Sophomore Sherack Malokwu kept a possession alive before Williams found junior Eric Bulic for a wide-open 3-pointer that at the time made it a six-point game at 29-23. Then, Bulic knocked out a rebound and eventually junior Simon Texidor drew a foul and connected on both free throws to bump the lead back out to six.

Brockport's Hamed Shamseldin, who entered the game averaging 24 points on the year, was held scoreless for the first 16:40 of the half, thanks in large part to spectacular defense by Williams as the Golden Eagles' top scorer started 0-for-8 from the floor before scoring seven straight points to pull Brockport within three at 35-32 with 1:43 to go before halftime.

Wooster clamped down defensively in the second half as the Scots held the Golden Eagles scoreless for a span of 4:20 with key steals by Bulic and sophomore Danyon Hempy headlining the effort. Offensively, Wooster saw its lead balloon from four to 14 during Brockport's scoring drought, and a pair of big post moves by Baptiste lead to easy finishes for the Scots' forward to help kick-start a crucial stretch. A slick Dupler-to-Malokwu dump down set the Scots' sophomore forward up with a nice finish that capped the run with Wooster on top 52-38 at the 12:35 mark.

Williams, who now has four straight 20-point games, went 8-for-15 from the field and 7-for-8 at the charity stripe on Monday. The senior scored 47 points between the two games.

Baptiste's 15 points marked a season-high and were two shy of his top career mark. The senior's 11 rebounds marked the second time he's been in double figures on the year.

Of note, Wooster finished with a 50-35 edge in rebounding with Bulic and Malokwu playing equally as important roles as Baptiste on the glass. Bulic hauled in 10 rebounds while Malokwu corralled nine, three of which came on the offensive end.

Summers led the way for Brockport with 16 points while Shamseldin added 15 points one day removed from a triple-double. Both Shamseldin and Summers were named to the all-tournament team.

Of note, led by Hempy's defense, the Scots held Josh Nelson scoreless one game after he went 7-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Saint Joseph's College of Maine's Ian Mileikis and Whittier College's Victor Nwaba rounded out the all-tournament team. Whittier won the consolation game 84-79 prior to the Scots' win.

Next, Wooster hosts one of the longest running small college basketball tournaments as the 55th annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic is set to take place Dec. 29-30. Wooster will play Worcester Polytechnic Institute (5-4) in Friday's 7 p.m. nightcap following the 5 p.m. game between Alma College (2-5) and Emory & Henry College (7-0).