WILMINGTON, Ohio - Playing at Fred Raizk Arena for final time, the four Wilmington College men's basketball seniors all finished in double figures in scoring as the Fightin' Quakers defeated Capital University 87-68 in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action on Wednesday evening.
"What a balanced, tough, team effort tonight," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "I thought we showed a lot of toughness to get up early, let them back in the game, but still stretch the lead at halftime. I'm proud of our guys for staying with it."
After failing to score on its first three possessions, Wilmington's offense, which was held to a season-low 57 points at Capital on Jan. 3, caught fire. The Quakers score on 10 consecutive possessions for Capital head coach Damon Goodwin to call three timeouts in the first eight minutes of the game. A Christian Jones jumper at the 9:22 mark gave the hosts a 25-6 edge.
The Crusaders would not go away, however, as the visitors engineered an 18-2 run over a six-minute span capped by two free throws from Caleb Cox to make the score 27-24 with 3:47 to go in the first half.
D.J. Iles scored seven of Wilmington's 11 points at the end of the first half to give the Quakers a 38-29 edge at the break.
Capital would get the deficit down to five points on two occasions in the second half but could get no closer as the hosts scored a basket on the very next possession each time to stretch the lead back to seven. Wilmington's lead stayed between seven and 12 points for the majority of the second half until a 10-2 run in the final two-and-a-half minutes.
Capital made two more field goals (26-24) than Wilmington in the game, but the Quakers converted 7-of-20 (35 percent) of their three-point attempts compared to just 4-of-16 (25 percent) from the Crusaders. Along with holding a 34-24 rebounding advantage, the hosts converted 31-of-34 (91.2 percent) free throw attempts while the visitors made 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) from the charity stripe.
"What a huge turnaround from getting outrebounded 52-28 at their place," Hunt said. "We showed a lot of effort to come up with loose ball after loose ball."
All five starters for Wilmington, which includes all four seniors, finished in double figures with Christian Jones leading the way with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Andrew Russell added 16 points while Jordan Jones and Iles added 13 and 12 points respectively. Nathan Scott finished with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
What a great way to have our four seniors go out [in their last home game] all scoring in double figures," Hunt said. "It's been a pleasure to coach all four of those guys."
Austin Schreck led Capital with 20 points in defeat.
Wilmington (11-12, 7-10 OAC) clinches an OAC Tournament berth with either a victory or a Heidelberg University loss on Saturday. The Quakers conclude their regular season with a 3 p.m. contest at Baldwin Wallace University on Saturday.