UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team nearly came back from a deficit of 20 points in the second half but were stopped just short in a 92-89 loss at John Carroll University in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) naction on Saturday.
The Fightin' Quakers will host a first round OAC Tournament game again Baldwin Wallace University on Tuesday evening.
JCU built a 23-10 lead nine minutes into the game, but Jeffery Mansfield answered with a triple assisted by Payton Smith. A Luke Hippler layup that followed put the Blue Streaks on top 25-13 midway through the first half. The Quakers' defense then clamped down as it did not allow the hosts to score a point for over four minutes. During that time, Wilmington put together a 17-0 run using baskets from five players including eight points from Will Patrick.
The Blue Streaks, trailing 33-27, ended the first half on a 19-3 run to take a 46-36 lead into halftime. The break didn't stop the JCU run, however, as the hosts built up an 18-point advantage (60-42) with 15:21 to play in regulation.
The Quakers, which trailed by 17 eight minutes later, began to chip into the deficit as a Patrick triple with 4:10 to play made the score 78-70. Less than two minutes later, another triple from Patrick got Wilmington within five points at 83-78.
A Jackson Sartain triple on the next possession put the Blue Streaks ahead 86-78, but a Kevin Lewis triple followed by a steal setup yet another Patrick three-pointer that made it a two-point game (86-84) with 1:20 to go. After the teams traded scoring on their next possessions, a JCU missed layup gave Wilmington the ball back trailing by two. Lewis' triple with five seconds left was off target, however, forcing the visitors to foul.
Two free throws from Ryan Berger put the Blue Streaks up four, but a quick triple from Lewis with two seconds left made it a one-point game. Two more free throws from Ryan Berger put JCU back up 92-89 and Wilmington's last-ditch heave was off the mark.
Wilmington made two more field goals (32-30) that JCU along with connecting on a season-high 16-of-34 (47.1 percent) from three-point range. The Blue Streaks made up the difference with a 19-9 edge in made free throws and a 45-30 margin in rebounding.
Individually, Patrick led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 7-of-12 from beyond the arc. Lewis turned in a double-double with 15 points and tied a career high with 13 rebounds while Mansfield and Andrew Russell also scored in double figures.
All five John Carroll starters scoring in double figures including Jackson Sartain's 25 points. Both Jimmy Berger and Luke Hippler notched double-doubles for the Blue Streaks.
Wilmington concludes its regular season at 17-7 overall and 13-5 in the OAC, marking the program's best season in five years. The Quakers will begin the OAC Tournament by hosting Baldwin Wallace at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.