MEN'S BASKETBALL | College of Wooster stages furious rally to beat Oberlin

·3 min read
The College of Wooster's Najee Hardaway battles for a loose ball during the Fighting Scots' victory over Oberlin College at Timken Gymnasium Wednesday night.
The College of Wooster's Najee Hardaway battles for a loose ball during the Fighting Scots' victory over Oberlin College at Timken Gymnasium Wednesday night.

WOOSTER – The College of Wooster men’s basketball team authored another stunning finish, this time rallying from a 13-point deficit with a game-closing 19-0 run Wednesday en route to a 69-63 win over Oberlin College at Timken Gymnasium.

The Fighting Scots did not allow a point over the final 6:16.

Wooster (13-4, 9-1 North Coast Athletic Conference), which maintained a half-game lead over Wabash College (13-3, 8-1) atop the conference standings, trailed 63-50 on Wolf Moser’s three-point play with 6:16 to play.

Sophomore Carter Warstler then sparked the game-closing surge with one of his game-high four offensive rebounds. That led to senior Brandon Styers dropping in three of Wooster’s 17 second-chance points at the 5:55 mark, and freshman Jamir Billings trimmed the deficit to single digits with a steal and fast-break layup.

After Wooster closed to within a possession, Styers denied Oberlin’s Anastasis Spyroglou from getting across midcourt, resulting in a 10-second violation. The Scots chip-away attack continued from there, with Billings passing his sixth assist of the game to junior forward Turner Kurt, whose layup made it 63-62 with 1:58 remaining.

Kurt was fouled on the next offensive possession, tied the game with his first free throw and then got the friendly bounce for the go-ahead point with 1:12 remaining.

Kurt was seemingly the center of attention over the final 72 seconds, as he wrestled down a defensive rebound and maintained possession long enough for a jump ball to be called. Then, with less than 30 seconds to go, he set a screen for Billings, rolled to the hoop, caught the entry pass, mustered up a layup, and finished the old-school three-point play to give the Scots a 67-63 lead.

At the other end, Spyroglou was off the mark on the front end of a one-and-one, and senior Najee Hardaway iced the game with a rebound and two free throws in the final 10 seconds.

Warstler’s stick-back at the 10:11 mark of the first half started an 8-0 run for the Scots. Sophomore Elijah Meredith capped it by beating the Yeomen (5-12, 3-8) down the floor for a fast-break lay-in with 8:09 remaining, and that bucket bumped Wooster’s lead to 24-23. The Scots led by as many as six in the first half’s closing stretch before Oberlin went on a 5-0 run just before halftime to pull within 34-33.

Kurt scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 shooting from the line, and was one of three players with eight rebounds. Hardaway added 20 points, making all five of his free-throw attempts. Warstler provided the energy on both ends with a career-high eight rebounds and three steals. Billings matched Warstler with three steals and he dished out a game-best seven assists.

Wooster shot 41.4 percent (24 of 58) for the game, was 14 of 15 at the line, and had a 17-4 edge on second-chance points. The Scots won the rebounding battle 35-29.

Dorde Otasevic led Oberlin with 18 points and eight rebounds. Moser added 14 points and four steals, and Spyroglou had four assists.

Oberlin shot 47.2 percent (25 of 53), went 7 of 10 at the line, and had 15 turnovers.

Wednesday's rally was the second massive game-closing run of the year for the Scots, who previously closed out Ripon College with a 23-3 run in an 83-71 win on Nov. 20.

Wooster next plays at Hiram College (6-10, 3-7) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Hiram spectators are limited to Hiram students, Hiram faculty, and Hiram staff. Outside spectators, including parents, are not permitted.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: College of Wooster uses game-ending 19-0 run to beat Oberlin

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