OBERLIN, Ohio – A lengthy run in each half paved the way for The College of Wooster men’s basketball team’s 62-51 win over Oberlin College in the teams’ North Coast Athletic Conference opener on Tuesday evening at Philips Gymnasium.
Wooster’s (3-1, 1-0 NCAC) 15-2 first-half run ended when junior Turner Kurt slipped past his defender for an easy lay-in at the 5:48 mark, with the Scots upping their lead to 28-19 at that point. Wooster found itself in a four-point hole at the run’s onset. An 18-foot pull-up jumper from senior Brandon Styers followed by a go-ahead triple drained by classmate Najee Hardaway quickly erased the deficit.
Oberlin’s (2-3, 0-1 NCAC) Wolf Moser countered Hardaway’s three-ball with the Yeomen’s lone bucket of the run, while sophomore Elijah Meredith powered his way down low en route to a layup, which gave Wooster the lead for good at the 10:08 mark.
Later in the run, the Scots cashed in at the bank, with senior Khaylen Mahdi’s jumper from the elbow going in after hitting the glass, as did Meredith’s lefty floater that made it 26-19 at the 6:34 mark. Defensively, offensive fouls hampered Oberlin’s efforts, as junior Tayler McNeal took one of Wooster’s three charges during the stretch, and sophomore JJ Cline drew a whistle on a Yeomen offensive push.
Kurt’s layup with 16:27 to go opened Wooster’s 10-0 second-half run. At the run's end, first-year Jamir Billings' pull-up three-pointer swished through the net just before the 11:00 mark, and Wooster's lead grew to 51-35. Moser’s three-pointer with 10:53 on the clock snapped Oberlin’s 5:53 scoring drought, during which the Yeomen missed nine consecutive field goals.
Hardaway scored a career-high 23 points. He connected with efficiency both inside and outside, evidenced by an 8-for-10 mark in the field-goal column, which included a 3-for-4 showing from three-point range. The senior added a co-game-high four assists and four rebounds to his line. Styers hit double-digits in rebounding for the second straight game, coming in at 10 on Tuesday evening. That led all players. Meredith finished in double figures with 10 points, and the forward was one of five Scots with at least six rebounds.
Wooster cleaned up well on the glass, running away with a 50-28 edge in rebounding. McNeal (7), Billings (6), and Kurt (6) rounded out the Scots with at least six on the night.
The Scots shot 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the floor, 7-of-22 from three-point range, and the Scots were 7-of-9 at the charity stripe.
Moser paced Oberlin with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Dorde Otasevic filled the point column in the early going, and wound up with 10 on the night.
Oberlin’s shooting was cold all around, with the Yeomen going just 20-of-62 (32.3 percent) from the floor, 8-of-36 (22.2 percent) on three-pointers, and 3-of-6 at the line.
Next, DePauw University (3-2, 1-0 NCAC) visits Timken Gymnasium for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday, December 4.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: College of Wooster outlasts Oberlin to win NCAC opener