Quakers defend home court, topple Blue Streaks 99-84

WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College men’s basketball team outscored John Carroll University 27-13 over the final 9:10 to defeat the Blue Streaks 99-84 in Ohio Athletic Conference action Saturday afternoon.

The win was Wilmington’s first over JCU since the Fightin’ Quakers’ 69-63 triumph in the OAC tournament title game on March 1, 2014.

“It’s always a good thing to beat a quality program like John Carroll,” Wilmington coach K.C. Hunt said. “As a team, we expect to win, especially on our home court. I’m proud of our guys for a total team effort.”

The first 31 minutes of the game were played in a 10-point window as both teams led by as many as five points – Wilmington 19-14 with 12:26 to play in the first half and JCU 26-21 with 10:34 to play in the first half. The Blue Streaks looked to take a lead into the halftime break, but Kevin Lewis had other ideas, nailing a three-pointer in the waning seconds to tie the game 45-45.

Midway through the second half, it was the Quakers’ turn to take a lead as Andrew Russell nailed a three 63-59. JCU tied the game 65-65 two minutes later on an old-fashioned, three-point play from Emmett Chambers.

Five points from Lewis and a layup from BJ Hamilton put Wilmington on top 72-68 at the 9:18 mark of the second half. The Quakers then pushed the different to 12, 87-75, with just under 5 minutes to play. Wilmington wasn’t done, however, as Lewis and Jeffery Mansfield picked off JCU passes on consecutive possessions which led to fast-break dunks that sealed the win.

“We stayed the course today,” said Hunt. “If you keep battling every possession, eventually good things are going to happen.”

Wilmington shot 38-of-72 (52.8 percent) from the floor, marking its highest total in both field goal percentage and field goals made this season. The Quakers also connected on 13-of-34 (38.2 percent) attempts from three-point range and made 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

Individually, Lewis led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting while Will Patrick scored a season-high 17 points off the bench. Both Russell and Abdul Kanu scored in double figures along with six rebounds while Mansfield was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor in scoring a career-high 12 points.

“We had some really good performances from guys off the bench,” Hunt said. “We did a really good job defensively especially in the second half.”

Jimmy Berger led John Carroll with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Jackson Sartain scored 18 points for the Blue Streaks while Sean Flannery, who led NCAA Division III in assist-to-turnover ratio last year, scored 14 points, but committed four turnovers.

Wilmington (7-5, 3-3 OAC) heads to Otterbein University Wednesday night.