Blowout of Spalding gives Mills first career win

DEFIANCE — The Wilmington College men’s basketball team built a 20-point lead late in the first half and coasted to an 84-60 victory over Spalding University (Ky.) on day one of the Purple & Gold Tournament hosted by Defiance College Friday night.

The win was the first for WC head coach Micah Mills.

“I’m really grateful for every member of this team, coaching staff and support staff. I’ll always remember this first one,” Mills said.

Neither team led by more than five points in the early going until a Domenic Farley basket with 13:22 to play put the Quakers on top 19-13. Wilmington held the Eagles to a single point over the next six minutes and grew the lead to 16. An Aaron Frazier layup with six minutes to play in the half put WC ahead 37-16.

Spalding answered, however, and put together a run to end the half. Two steals in the final minute led two three layups as Anthony Dillard beat the buzzer to pull Spalding within 41-30 at halftime.

The Quakers turned up its defensive effort to begin the second half, holding the Eagles without a field goal for the first four minutes. Farley connected on a three to push the lead back up to 18. The WC lead never went below 15 the rest of the way.

“We wanted to play connected with an unmatched passion and I love that we checked those two boxes,” said Mills. “We still have a ton of room to grow, but that’s the connection and passion we have to see every practice and every game. It feels good to start 1-0, but we know that we have to execute at a higher clip going forward.”

Wilmington finished the game 30-of-61 (49.2 percent) to go along with a 10-of-26 (38.5 percent) performance from beyond the three-point arc. The Quakers won the rebounding battle 43-36 and tallied a dozen steals. Spalding was held to a 20-of-57 (35.1 percent) clip from the field and just 2-of-9 (22.2 percent) from distance.

A quartet of Quakers – Lucas Doty (15), Farley (14), Collin Barker (13) and Abdul Kanu (11) – finished in double figures. Obed Achirem led the way in rebounding with seven boards. Dillard led the Eagles with 17 points off the bench in defeat.

Wilmington (1-0) will face host Defiance 3 p.m. Saturday.