Ohio Wesleyan’s men’s basketball team was eliminated from the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament in the semifinals on Friday night against Wooster.
The final score was 89-80 in Wooster’s favor.
The Bishops, with shots by juniors Marshall Morris, Andy Winters and Eric Easley, brought the game within 5 points with 2:05 left, leaving the crowd excited.
This proved to be too little too late as Wooster was able to hang on and make free throws at the end to seal the victory.
Wooster jumped out ahead of OWU and had an 11-point lead with 9:22 left. The Bishops kept the game within 9 points for most of the remaining time.
Easley was fouled with no time left on the clock, giving Wooster only a 7-point lead at half.
The Bishops worked to bring the score within striking distance. After the first five minutes Wooster already had seven fouls on OWU.
However, Wooster began hitting 3-pointers and went ahead 70-51 with just 8:34 left in the game. These 3-pointers and successful free throws helped Wooster close out the game and defeat OWU.
“All of them can shoot, so they are difficult to guard,” sophomore guard Dre White said.
“We couldn’t take possessions off, which has been an emphasis all season. They had two or three (3-pointers) in a row, which made a difference.”
“I was really proud of our effort,” Coach Mike DeWitt said. He said it was constant and aided in wins.
Despite the loss, the Bishops had four players score double digits. Senior guard Tim Brady led in scoring with 18 points, Winters had 17 points, Morris had 16 points and White had 15 points.
“We knew going in the game they were going to focus on Tim for scoring,” White said. “We knew other guys would need to step up, be aggressive and just look to score.”
Although they lost, the Bishops were still able to obtain a bid to the Division III NCAA tournament. The team found out on Monday afternoon when this year’s bracket was released. Winters said most of the team was in the film room when the bracket was released.
“We all thought and expected we were going to make it,” Winters said. “We were still excited to see that we got in with the first region.”
The Bishops will play Hobart on Friday at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa.
At press time, the time of the game was still to be determined. Winters said the team will leave Wednesday night and have a normal week of practice and preparation at Cabrini. He said they will watch film and scout Hobart.
“It’s a relief to find out we are still playing,” White said. “We do not know much about them (Hobart), but we have to make the most (of) our opportunities now.”