DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Defiance College Yellow Jackets closed out the first half of the conference season Wednesday night with a 71-55 victory on the road over Earlham College.
Ryan Hicks led all scorers in the contest with 32 points, as the Yellow Jackets (12-4, 7-2 HCAC) moved into a tie for first place in the conference at the midway point.
While Hicks got Defiance on the board first with a jumper, it was Bernard Edwards who put the Yellow Jackets into the lead for good with three of the next four baskets, all from three-point range.
Edwards, who finished with 17 points, hit the next two baskets in the game to give DC an 8-2 lead that it never relinquished. Mason Roth followed with a three before Edwards hit another to put the Yellow Jackets up 14-5.
Kent Tietje then made a pair of layups and Noah Reed added a three pointer to extend DC's lead to 21-8. Reed led scorers off the bench for Defiance with six points on a pair of three pointers. Tietje finished with four points and four rebounds.
Hicks settled in at that point, making 12 of DC's 14 points to close out the half, including a 6-6 effort from the free-throw line. Edwards made the other two points, also from the free-throw line.
Earlham (3-13, 2-7 HCAC) used a late run in the first half to close the halftime deficit to 35-30, but the Quakers wouldn't get much closer.
Hicks started off the second half with the next three points for Defiance, extending his scoring run to 15 of DC's 17.
The Yellow Jackets then pulled away with a combined effort. Roth made a lay in while being fouled and followed it up with a free throw. Reed then connected from behind the arch.
Wade Wooley got on the scoreboard in the second half with a pair of lay-ins that sandwiched another Hicks basket. For the third-straight game, Wooley reached the double-digit rebound total. The sophomore led the way with 10 boards in the game.
Hicks finished one behind with nine boards and Edwards also had eight rebounds. The outstanding effort on the boards helped DC outrebound Earlham 42-33.
Following Wooley's second basket, Hicks and Edwards teamed up for the next 15 points to pull away by as much as 21.
While just missing a double-double, Hicks also had three assists on the night, with two steals and a block.
Edwards led the way for the Yellow Jackets in the assist column with five. The junior also had a block.
Wooley led the team with a pair of blocks and finished with four points to add to his 10 rebounds.
Roth had six points for the Yellow Jackets to go along with a steal and an assist.
While Travis Schomaeker was held scoreless, the junior had four helpers and four rebounds in the game.
Shaquille Smith made a pair of free throws for the other two points for DC.
The Yellow Jackets will now get underway with the second half of the season on Saturday when Hanover travels to Defiance for a 3 p.m. tip in the Karl H. Weaner Community Center. The Yellow Jackets and Hanover are in a four-way tie atop the standings in the HCAC.