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Men's Basketball Hits Century Mark in Road Win at Otterbein

Photo by Madi O'Neill
Photo by Madi O'Neill

WESTERVILLE, Ohio - Christian Jones poured in a career-high 32 points as the Wilmington College men's basketball team hit the century mark in a 100-84 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) victory at Otterbein University on Wednesday evening.

Otterbein, which came into the contest winless on the season, took an 18-10 lead seven minutes into the contest, but consecutive three-pointers from Christian Jones gave Wilmington a 30-28 edge at the 6:55 mark of the first half. The Fightin' Quakers would lead by as many as four (39-35) late in the first half, but it was the Cardinals who ended the first 20 minutes with a 19-9 run capped by a three-pointer from Gabe Watson at the buzzer.

"C.J. [Christian Jones] carried us offensively especially in the first half," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "He simply wasn't going to let us lose tonight."

Christian Jones, who scored 21 points in the first half, regained the Quakers the lead with two free throws after Andrew Russell dialed up from distance. The next 12 minutes were played within a five-point window as Wilmington led by as many as five, 80-75 at the 7:20 mark, while Otterbein tied the game on two occasions. Connor Clark got the Cardinals within two (80-78) with a free throw with 6:13 to play in regulation, but Christian Jones answered with two free throws of his own.

Nathan Scott then stretched the visitor's advantage with a three-pointer and two free throws, sparking a 20-6 run that to end the game and send Wilmington home with its first OAC road victory of the season.

"What a solid road win for us tonight," said Hunt. "I liked how we played in attack mode all night long."

Both team shots 45 percent from the field, but the Quakers made 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) tries from distance compared to just 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) for the Cardinals. Wilmington also shot 86.4 percent (38-of-44) from the free throw line while Otterbein made 68.6 percent (24-of-35) of its free throw attempts.

All five Wilmington starters scored in double figures with Christian Jones' 32 points leading all scorers. The Hamilton, Ohio, native also dished out at team-high six assists and made 15 free throws, third-most in a single game in program history. Scott added 17 points and seven rebounds while Russell had 13 points and eight boards. Both D.J. Iles and Jordan Jones also scored in double figures.

Justin Carter led Otterbein with 24 points in defeat.

Wilmington (6-9, 2-7 OAC) finishes the first round of OAC play one spot out of a berth in the conference tournament. The Quakers will look to move up the standings when they travel to Heidelberg University for a 3 p.m. contest on Saturday.