WOOSTER, Ohio – Sophomore transfer Dontae Williams scored 22 points in his College of Wooster debut, and a well-balance scoring distribution that featured six student-athletes in double figures led the 21st-ranked Fighting Scots past Muskingum University 108-100 on Wednesday evening at Timken Gymnasium in the opening game of the 25th annual Al Van Wie Wooster Rotary Classic.
Williams ultimately bumped Wooster (1-0) past Muskingum (0-1) on the scoreboard with an old-fashion three-point play with 17:57 remaining in the game, but thanks in large part to Marcus Dempsey and Devon Peart's combined 62 points, the Fighting Muskies lurked within striking distance for much of the second half.
With about 13:50 remaining in the contest, Wooster started to pull away from Muskingum behind a series of possessions with impressive ball movement. Senior Reece Dupler kicked off a 10-3 stretch with a layup in the paint after an assist from junior Trenton Tipton, and the Scots' two-time all-conference guard returned the favor on Wooster's next offensive sequence. Then, senior Blake Blair canned a pair of three-pointers, the second of which extended Wooster's lead to 76-65 with 11:18 remaining.
Dempsey's jumper with 1:29 left in the game trimmed Wooster's lead to four at 95-91 and marked the capper of a 9-0 run. Wooster responded with a quick layup by junior Danyon Hempy in transition, and senior Trey Miller sank two free throws to bump the lead back out to eight.
Wooster's wide offensive arsenal was on fully display from the get-go as six different Scots contributed to an 11-2 run that had Wooster on top 18-7 with 13:20 left before halftime. Chief among the buckets was a Tipton 3-pointer, and the rising junior went on to score seven more points before halftime.
Senior Eric Bulic stood out offensively in the first half with 10 points, two of which came on a layup with 5:45 left that bumped Wooster's lead out to a first-half-high 13 at 41-28. Alas, Dempsey and Peart combined for a 13-4 run that pulled the Muskies within two at 48-46 with just over a minute left in the opening half.
Dupler (18), Hempy (16), Tipton (14), Bulic (12), and Blair (10) joined Williams in double figures scoring, while Bulic and Williams finished two rebounds shy of double-doubles. Wooster's exceptional ball movement led to 18 assists, and seven Scots had at least two helpers.
Wooster shot 58.6 percent (41-for-70) from the floor, canned 17-of-24 tries at the charity stripe, finished with a 42-25 edge in rebounding, and scored 19 second-chance points.
Dempsey's 33 points marked the second-most in the history of the Al Van Wie Wooster Rotary Classic and the most since Farmingdale State College's Damien Santana poured in 37 points against Otterbein University in 2007. Peart added 29 points, while Carson Carter was the top man on the glass with five rebounds.
Muskingum shot 50.7 percent (36-for-71) from the floor, was 19-for-24 at the free throw line, and only had three turnovers.
Wooster hosts Mount Saint Joseph University (0-1) in the second game of the Al Van Wie Wooster Rotary Classic. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, and fans can gain half-price admission with the donation of two canned food items for People to People Ministries.