Late First-Half Surge in Intensity on Both Ends of Floor Ignites Wooster in 79-58 Win Over Allegheny

Eric Bulic
Reece Dupler

WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Reece Dupler sparked a 15-3 run to cap the first half, and a well-balanced effort up and down the lineup propelled The College of Wooster men's basketball team to its eighth-straight win as the Fighting Scots topped visiting Allegheny College 79-58 on Wednesday evening at Timken Gymnasium.

Allegheny (5-9, 2-5 North Coast Athletic Conference) was in the midst of trying to work its way back from Wooster's (11-3, 5-2 NCAC) first surge as a Sean Szabo 3-pointer with 7:36 to go in the opening half pulling the Gators within four at 25-21. That's when Dupler made his move, and the Scots never looked back from there.

The Scot's junior was fouled on the way up for a jumper, and he capped the old-fashioned three-point play to make it 28-21 with 6:34 to go in the half.

From there, Wooster played good team basketball, starting at the defensive end of the floor where the Scots' didn't allow a second-chance opportunity over the 15-3 run, while junior Eric Bulic and Dupler logged steals and sophomore Danyon Hempy added a blocked shot. Offensively, Hempy capped the run with a nifty jumper while in the air on the Scots' inbounds play just before the first-half buzzer, and two possessions earlier, the sophomore secured a defensive rebound and led the Scots on a 3-on-1 fast break before dishing out a perfect assist to senior Spencer Williams.

Speaking of Williams, the Scots' leading scorer heated up late with a pair of 3-pointers during the run, and he accounted for eight of the 15 points.

Earlier in the half, Williams' first 3-pointer of the game handed Wooster an early 16-4 advantage less than six minutes into the contest. Dupler helped key the strong opening stretch with a pair of long-range field goals of his own, while senior Alex Baptiste chipped four rebounds and two blocks during his first stretch on the floor.

Baptiste's persistence at both ends of the floor headlined the opening moments of the second half as the senior cleaned up his own miss with a put-back offensively, and then poked the ball away from Allegheny's Billy Urso leading to an easy fast-break bucket by Dupler that extended the lead out to 20.

Later in the half, Dupler took over offensively starting with a hard-earned offensive rebound and ensuing put-back to bump Wooster's lead out to 58-42 with 9:21 to go. Then, Dupler canned 3-pointers on two of the Scots' next three possessions, with the latter bucket extending Wooster's lead out to 19.

Down the stretch, Wooster logged several highlight-worthy defensive plays, most notably a Williams block and a Bulic steal.

Hempy and Williams combined for 31 points on the night to back up Dupler's game-high 23. Baptiste corralled 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end of the floor, and now has an incredible 43 boards over the Scots' last three games. Sticking with the rebounding, Dupler and Williams turned in a fine effort with seven boards each, and Williams dished out six assists.

Noteworthy, Wooster's 11 3-pointers are tied for the second-most the Scots have made in a game this season.

Jordan Rawls led Allegheny with 12 points and six rebounds, but thanks to the defensive efforts spearheaded by Bulic, the Scots held the Gators' leading scorer to 4-for-13 from the floor.

Next, Wooster remains at home to host 10th-ranked Wittenberg University (14-0, 7-0 NCAC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to wear white attire to the contest for the Scots' "white out" theme taking place at both the men's and women's games on Jan. 13.