This Week's Outlook: The College of Wooster (20-5, 14-4 North Coast Athletic Conference) hosts DePauw University (11-14, 7-11 NCAC) in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NCAC Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The winner advances to Friday's semifinal round, which will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed. Wooster is making its 34th appearance in the NCAC Tournament, and only Wooster and Ohio Wesleyan University have appeared in every single NCAC Tournament since the league was founded.
Media Coverage: Wooster's quarterfinal game will be streamed live at http://portal.stretchinternet.com/wooster and will be produced by MCTV. MCTV customers in Wayne and Stark Counties can catch the first replay at 10 p.m. on Ch. 22 and Ch. 621, and the game will be replayed at other times on Wednesday and Thursday. Mike Breckenridge's call of the game can be heard on WQKT 104.5 FM and online at http://wqkt.com. Fans can also follow the live stats link at http://woosterathletics.com and check for periodic score updates on the men's basketball team's Twitter account @ScotsBasketball.
Ticket Information: Ticket prices for the NCAC Tournament are set by the conference office. NCAC lifetime passes are honored with free admission to all NCAC championship events. Adult tickets are $7, children (18 and under), NCAC guest pass, and student (non-NCAC institution ID) tickets are $5, and all NCAC students (with ID) are admitted free of charge. Ticket sales will begin 90 minutes prior to tipoff.
NCAC Tournament History: Wooster has won the NCAC Tournament a league-best 16 times, and in fact, that total is more than two times greater than Wittenberg University's six league crowns. Wooster is 69-17 all-time in the NCAC Tournament, including a remarkable 53-9 at home, and 28-5 in the quarterfinal round with a current streak of 21 consecutive quarterfinal wins. The Fighting Scots are the No. 2 seed for this week's tournament, and are 23-5 all-time when playing as that seed. This year marks the 21st straight season Wooster's been either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, and the fourth consecutive year as the No. 2 seed.
Take Note, Dick Vitale: Wooster won its 20th game of the season last week Wednesday versus Kenyon College, and it's the 22nd consecutive year the Scots have won at least 20 games. That's tied with Duke University for the second-longest active streak among NCAA men's basketball programs, and trails only Kansas University's remarkable run of 29 straight 20-win seasons.
Last Week's Recap: Wooster's 20th win of the season didn't come easily as the Scots had to overcome a 15-point second-half deficit against the Lords. Sophomore Danyon Hempy (Waldo, Ohio/River Valley) scored a career-high 30 points - 24 of which came in the second half. Hempy was instrumental down the stretch, starting with the game-tying bucket with 2:32 to go that knotted the tilt at 69. The sophomore ultimately put Wooster on top with a 3-pointer that made it 72-70 with 1:20 remaining. Thanks to the Scots' win, plus Ohio Wesleyan's 85-80 win over Wittenberg University, the stage was set for the Scots to vie for a share of the NCAC championship on Saturday. Wooster came out on the short end of the latest instant classic against Wittenberg as the Tigers' Jacob Bertemes nailed a game-tying 3-pointer with :00.5 left in regulation, and sank the game-winning free throw on an old-school three-point play with :00.3 to go in overtime.
Mr. Consistent: Senior Spencer Williams (Warrensville Hts., Ohio/Orange) surpassed 400 points on the season during last Wednesday's win versus Kenyon. In doing so, Williams is the seventh Scot in program history to have three seasons with at least 400 points. During Wooster's 65-57 win over DePauw on Jan. 27, Williams became the 10th player in program history to surpass 1,500 career points, and he enters play today ninth all-time with 1,592 points. With two more points, Williams will move into a tie with Dan Thomas for eighth all-time in scoring at the College.
March to 1,000 Complete: Junior Reece Dupler (Newark, Ohio/Lakewood) recorded his 1,000th career point during last Wednesday's win versus Kenyon. Dupler, the 43rd student-athlete in program history to reach the milestone, is the third junior to accomplish this in as many years.
Hempy Heating Up: Hempy's heated up on the court at the right time for the Scots as the sophomore is averaging nearly 21 points per game over the last six outings, including a new career-high of 30 last week Wednesday against Kenyon. Hempy's uptick on the stat sheet isn't limited to points as he's logged 16 assists, 15 steals, and 11 blocked shots over the same time span. The guard's magnificent run of consecutive free throws reached 31 before he missed one late in regulation on Saturday at Wittenberg.
The Cardiac Crew: Wooster's played in more than its fair share of tight games this year as 14 of the Scots' 20 wins have been decided on by 10 points or fewer, and Wooster's had the outcome of six games come down to a single possession. Among the one-possession wins is a 76-75 comeback over Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Dec. 29 that saw the Scots rally back from a 17-point second-half deficit. Also in there is a 73-70 win over Denison University on Feb. 3, a game in which Hempy knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer with :03.7 remaining.
Stern Steps Up: Senior Ari Stern (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunnyslope) made his first start of the season on Saturday and turned in a career day at Wittenberg. The guard tipped in the first points of the game, and at the end of the first half, chased down a lengthy rebound in the corner that led to an eventual bucket by Hempy. For the game, Stern logged new career-bests in points (12) and rebounds (7), while also matching his career-high with three steals.
Block Party: Wooster's logged nine games with at least six blocked shots on the year, including six of the last eight games. The Scots' season-long block party got rolling back on Nov. 25 during an 87-79 win over then-No. 4 Hanover College. Against the Panthers, the Scots blocked 12 shot, five of which came from junior Eric Bulic (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) in what marked the most blocks for Wooster since it had a dozen against Allegheny College on Jan. 26, 2005. Most recently, senior Alex Baptiste (Allonnes, France/Wasatch Academy (Utah)) recorded three swats on Saturday to move into the top 10 in program history with 90 career blocks. Baptiste leads the NCAC with 1.6 blocks per game, and Hempy enters the league tournament third at 1.2 per night.
Wooster is the Only NCAC Team With Two in the Top Five in Rebounding: Baptiste and Bulic have combined for 363 rebounds on the year with Baptiste sporting a five-rebound lead (184-179) on the team heading into play on Tuesday night. The duo ranks third and fourth respectively in the conference at 7.4 and 7.2 board per night, and the Scots are the only team in the NCAC with a pair of players in the top five in rebounding.
Tipton Solidifies Role: Sophomore Trenton Tipton (St. Clarisville, Ohio/Union Local) answered the call when inserted into Wooster's win over then-undefeated Emory & Henry College in the championship game of the 55th annual E.M. "Mose" Hole/Wooster Kiwanis Classic on Dec. 30. The forward opened the game-shifting 19-2 Scot run with a 3-pointer, and went on to drain two more buckets from beyond the arc. Since that game, Tipton's played at least 10 minutes in every contest, headlined by a 15-point, 7-rebound showing at Wabash College on Jan. 20.
Blair Answers the Call: Junior Blake Blair (Dover, Ohio/Dover) is the latest in a long line of success stories to come out of the tradition-rich program's history. After only playing jayvee as a freshman, Blair stepped away from the program last year before coming back out for the team as a junior. Blair's never looked back after a memorable debut with eight points and four rebounds versus Oberlin College back on Nov. 15. In fact, he's played the fifth-most minutes on the team and the Scots' "Sixth Man" is fourth on the squad in scoring at 7.5 points per night.
Moore Climbing: Legendary head coach Steve Moore, who has compiled a career record of 820-237 in 31 years as a head coach, including a remarkable 733-172 record at Wooster, recently moved into the top 15 in all-time NCAA men's basketball coaching wins. Wooster's next win will move Moore into a tie for 14th-place all-time with Jerry Johnson, who led LeMoyne-Owen College to an 821-447 record from 1959 to 2005.