The Wilmington College men’s basketball team knew this season was going to be a learning experience and Saturday was another step up the rung for the youthful Fightin’ Quakers.
Unfortunately, it was growth in another loss as WC fell to John Carroll, 84-68, in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Hermann Court’s Fred Raizk Arena.
John Carroll took control of the game with a 23-3 run to open up a 20-point lead just 13 minutes into the game.
“I thought, unfortunately, our young group came out a little passive and intimidated by the size and length of John Carroll,” said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt. “It’s a little disappointing, but also pleased with the way we fought and got ourselves back into the game.”
After three consecutive threes by freshmen Andrew Russell (Columbus, OH/Central Crossing), Kevin Lewis (Cincinnati, OH/Clark Montessori) and Brandon Smith (Lebanon, OH/Lebanon), Wilmington had its deficit down to six. A foul and technical foul called on Smith’s three-pointer had the Fightin’ Quakers looking to crawl closer.
“I thought we showed a lot of grit and determination, but if we could start learning some lessons, applying them and start getting some wins,” said Hunt. “We made a run because we were the aggressors. We took the fight to them instead of them taking the fight to us. We did a real nice job of rebounding the ball in the second half with Zach (McCorkle) and Jordan Hecker in particular got on the defensive glass. Ultimately, we had a couple of opportunities to cut (the deficit) even more, but some missed opportunities – lay-up wise – and missed free throws hurt us.”
But Wilmington missed 2 of 3 attempts, and the Blue Streaks energized by the missed opportunities, scored 9 straight to rebuild their cushion.
Sophomore Christian Jones (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton) finished with a team-high 15 points, while Russell added 12 points. Senior Zack McCorkle (Cincinnati, OH/Winton Woods) pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds to go along with 6 points, while freshman Jordan Hecker (Delaware, OH/Rutherford B. Hayes) grabbed 9 boards.
Wilmington (1-6 overall, 0-3 OAC) travels to Heidelberg 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.