Mansfield, defense never rests: WC hammers Hendrix

WC Sports Info. Dept.

MARIETTA, Ohio — The Wilmington College men’s basketball team pulled away from Hendrix College (Ark.) in the second half to earn a 70-58 victory at the Great Lakes Invitational on Saturday afternoon.

Just like they had in Saturday’s thrashing of La Roche, the Fightin’ Quakers jumped out early. Wilmington’s first four possessions resulted in baskets from Obed Achirem, Jeffery Mansfield and two from Bilal Sow. A Warrior timeout could not stop the Wilmington run as baskets from Collmann Aaron, Mansfield and Travis Mitchell made the score 17-4 with 13:22 to play in the first half.

Wilmington was held scoreless for the next six minutes, however, and in that time, Hendrix scored 14 points to take an 18-17 advantage. Another Aaron triple and four points from Mansfield helped the Quakers regain a 24-19 edge, but a Jackson Parks jumper at the buzzer tied the game 31-31 at the break.

An 8-2 run for the Warriors to open the second half forced Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt to call timeout with his team trailing 39-33. The Quakers’ response was perhaps the team’s best defensive effort of the season.

“Defense travels,” said Hunt after the game. “You’re going to have days where you don’t make shots. I was really proud of our stifling defense today.”

The Quakers, which gave up eight points in less than three minutes to open the second half, allowed just nine points over the next 12 minutes. During that stretch, Wilmington scored 15 points to build a nine-point advantage (58-49) with 4:41 to play. A minute later, consecutive triples from Mansfield and Sow sealed the game.

Both teams shot the ball between a 35-40 percent clip from the field, but Wilmington made 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) of its three-point tries compared to just 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) for Hendrix. The Quakers also won the rebounding battle 44-36.

“Rebounding the basketball was critical in the win today,” said Hunt.

Mansfield finished with a double-double for Wilmington, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds to go along with six assists and two steals. Jayden Lewis also scored in double figures with 11 points while Achirem, who was named to the all-tournament team, had eight points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Aaron and Bryce Bird added nine points each off the bench.

The Warrior combo of Jonathan Ryan and Sean Coman both scored 13 points in defeat. Seth Stanley, who scored a game-high 31 points in Hendrix’s 80-78 win over Wittenberg University on Friday, was held to a single field goal.

“One of the keys to our defensive performance and ultimately our win was Jeffery’s stellar defense of No. 34 [Stanley],” Hunt said. “Holding a player as talented as that to a single field goal is impressive. I also thought Andrew [Clark] and Bryce [Bird] did a great job of speeding up their point guards. We didn’t create as many live-ball turnovers as we wanted, but Hendrix was forced into some contests shots late in the shot clock.”

Wilmington improves to 2-2 on the season after finishing the 2021 Great Lakes Invitational a perfect 2-0. Hendrix drops to 4-1 with the loss.

The Quakers have week off before heading to Wittenberg 8 p.m. Nov. 30.

WC Sports Info. Dept.