WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team built a double-digit lead midway through the second half and held on to secure an 85-77 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) victory at Fred Raizk Arena on Friday evening. The win snaps a two-game losing skid and marks the 18th consecutive victory for the Fightin' Quakers over the Cardinals.
Otterbein (1-4) jumped out to a 7-2 lead early, but a Bilal Sow layup five minutes in gave Wilmington a slim 12-11 advantage. The entire first half would be played within a 10-point window as neither side would lead by more than five points. A Hunter Ruckel triple off of a pass from Jeffery Mansfield gave WC a 37-32 lead with 4:13 to play in the first half, but the Cardinals would head to the locker room trailing by just a point (40-39) after two Jake Justice free throws in the final seconds.
The first five minutes of the second half was much of the same as both squads traded baskets. With the score tied 53-53, senior Brandon Cox entered the game and immediately made an impact, scoring six straight Quaker points to put the hosts up 59-53. The host's advantage would blossom to double digits (70-60) thanks to two Collmann Aaron free throws with six minutes to go.
The Cardinals didn't fold, however, pulling within a single basket (76-74) with two minutes to play, but Jackson Todd found Mansfield for a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. After an Otterbein timeout and basket, Jayden Lewis sliced to the basket and hit a floater, sealing the win for the Quakers.
"Tonight was a solid team win as we had contributions up and down the roster," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "Getting 47 points from our bench was great to see."
Wilmington shot 31-of-54 (57.4 percent) from the field to go along with six triples and a 17-of-23 (73.9 percent) performance from the free throw line. The Quakers also forced 14 turnovers that translated to a 19-7 edge in points off turnovers.
Otterbein, which was led by a 30-point performance from Dallas Patrick and a 21-point evening from Bryson Lane, shot 49.0 percent (25-of-51) from the field and made 22-of-25 (88.0 percent) from the free throw line.
Four Quakers – Mansfield, Lewis, Todd and Sow – finished in double figures in scoring. Manfield once again flirted with a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists to go along with two steals.
"Jeffery [Mansfield] was awesome tonight," said Hunt. "He controlled the game and made everyone around him better."
Brandon Cox scored a career-high six points in four minutes off the bench.
Wilmington (3-6) heads to the Rike Center tomorrow (Saturday) looking for its first sweep of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.