WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College men's basketball team trailed for over 34 minutes, but a 15-4 run over the final four minutes to earn a 79-74 win over Muskingum University in an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) game at Hermann Court on Wednesday evening.
The Fighting Muskies blitzed the Fightin' Quakers from the start. Marcus Dempsey, the nation's second leading scorer at 30.7 points per game, made 5-of-6 field goals in the first eight minutes. A fade-away, three-point jump shot from the junior gave Muskingum a 23-8 lead. Wilmington battled back to within a single point with an old-fashioned, three-point play to end the half.
The Quakers, who led for just 33 seconds in the first half, opened the second half with a jumper from Abdul Kanu to give the hosts a one-point lead. The Muskies, determined to get a series split, answered with a 13-4 run to open up a 10-point advantage at the 15:43 mark. The visitors, though the hosts tied it 57-57 on a Noah Dado layup with 11 minutes to play, wouldn't give up the lead until late. With the score 70-64, DaeShawn Jackson made a free throw. After Muskingum missed the front end of a one-and-one, Mansfield took over, scoring 10 consecutive points including six from the free throw line.
The Muskies got the ball back trailing by three with seven seconds to play, but a Dempsey turnover ended the threat of a game-tying triple.
Both teams were exactly 28-of-57 (49.1 percent) from the field. Muskingum shot a much high percentage from three-point range, making 12-of-25 (48.0 percent) compared to just 2-of-15 (13.3 percent) for Wilmington. The Quakers made up the difference by getting to the line 18 more times and making 15 more free throws. Both teams had 30 rebounds while the Quakers forced 17 turnovers.
Mansfield led all scorers with 33 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 13-of-15 from the free throw line. Kanu added 15 points while Jackson added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Dempsey led Muskingum in defeat with 20 points and nine rebounds. The game marked just the third time (with one of the others being Wilmington's win in New Concord) he has been held under 27 points all season. Alexi Masinelli and M.J. Smith also scored in double figures for the Muskies.
Wilmington, which has won 3-of-4 in February, takes its 10-12 overall and 8-7 OAC record to Marietta College on Saturday. Tip-off from Ban Johnson Arena is scheduled for 3 p.m.