WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College men's basketball team played toe-to-toe with Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) leader John Carroll University on Saturday, but 17-0 run late in the second half gave the visitors a 105-97 victory over the Fightin' Quakers at Hermann Court.
The entire first half was played within a 10-points window as neither team led by more than five points. The second half opened with a torrid pace as the two teams combined to make their first 11 shots. A Nathan Scott layup, the 11th consecutive made field goal to begin the first half, but Wilmington ahead 58-52 at the 16:32 mark. After two missed triples from the Blue Streaks, a Will Patrick layup put the hosts ahead by eight points.
John Carroll got within four points on two occasions, but two Christian Jones free throws put Wilmington ahead 81-74 with eight minutes to play. The came the run from the No. 23-ranked team in the most recent d3hoops.com Top 25 poll. A John Carroll layup followed by a forced turnover and a three-pointer from the corner forced a timeout from Wilmington Head Coach K.C. Hunt with the Quakers trailing 89-81.
"I thought we played a high-level game for about 36 minutes," Hunt said. "But to win a game like that, you have to sustain a high level of energy, exit and execution for the entire game to beat a good team."
Wilmington got within six points on three occasions in the final four minutes, but could get no closer.
Both teams made 32 field goals and shot over 45 percent from the field. Wilmington hit 12-of-33 three-pointers (36.4 percent) while John Carroll was 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from distance. The Blue Streaks made up the difference from the free throw line, making 34-of-39 shots (87.2 percent) while the Quakers were 21-of-29 (72.4 percent) from the charity stripe.
Individually, Nathan Scott led all scorers with a career-high 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc.
"Nate [Scott] has the incredible ability to create and make tough shots," said Hunt. "It's fun to watch when gets going like he did today. We did a great job finding him."
D.J. Iles had 16 points and five assists while Andrew Russell and Christian Jones also figured in double figures in scoring. Russell grabbed seven rebounds while Jones had five assists and three steals.
Matthew Csuhran led John Carroll with 22 points in 17 minutes off the bench. Jimmy Berger and 18 points while Allen Stokes added a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Wilmington (5-9, 1-7 OAC) finishes the first round of OAC play at Otterbein University on Wednesday evening.