Greencastle, Ind.- A lights out shooting performance set the tone for the DePauw Tigers to knock off the second-ranked Wooster Fighting Scots 78-74, Saturday afternoon at Neal Fieldhouse. This is the first NCAA Division III loss for Wooster and just their second loss this season.
The first half proved to be a back and forth battle featuring 13 lead changes and seven ties. DePauw benefited from stellar shooting from three-point range going 6-9 (66.7 percent) from deep. Leading the charge was senior Michael Wilkison who had 12 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, draining four three-pointers.With the victory the Tigers improved to 13-4 on the year and 8-2 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, while the Fighting Scots dropped to 15-2 overall and 9-1 in NCAC play.
DePauw shot 60.0 percent (15-25) from the floor in the opening half, but committed six turnovers keeping Wooster in the game. The Fighting Scots were able to turn the Tigers' turnovers into 10 points and held a 16-14 point edge in points in the paint. Wilkison sent DePauw to the locker room with some momentum after he nailed a long-distance 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Tigers up 37-35.
The Tigers opened up the second half on a 12-5 run putting them in front 49-40 with 14:52 on the clock. Wooster was able to climb back into the contest a number of times, but DePauw always found a way to stay out front. In the final seconds of the contest the Fighting Scots pulled within one possession, but Frank Patton III (pictured left) was able to make the second of two free throws to seal the Tigers' victory.
Second-ranked Wooster is the highest ranked opponent the Tigers have defeated since 2002 and is the second top 10 team DePauw has taken down in the last two weeks. Additionally, this marks the third-straight season that Wooster has entered Neal Fieldhouse as a ranked opponent and left in defeat.
DePauw dominated on the glass outrebounding Wooster 37-17 including a 10 offensive rebounds that led to 11 second chance points. The Tigers also won the battle inside outscoring the Fighting Scots 32-26.
Tommy Fernitz led all players with a game-high 10 rebounds and adding 19 points on his way to his seventh double-double this season. Fernitz also had four blocks in the contest. Patton III had a career-high 14 points, while Luke Lattner rounded out the DePauw's double-digit scorers with 10 points.
Wooster was led by Doug Thorpe with 22 points and Xavier Brown who tallied 17 points. Evan Pannell added 12 points, while Kenny DeBoer knocked in 11 points in the loss.
The Tigers are back in action Wednesday, January 29, at 6 p.m. when they travel to Granville, Ohio to take on NCAC foe Denison.