NEW CONCORD, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team come from 13 points down in the final seven minutes to earn its first Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) victory of the season as the Fightin' Quakers downed Muskingum University 91-87 on Wednesday evening.
Wilmington led by as many as seven points (35-28) in the first half and took a 45-41 lead into halftime, but Muskingum capped a second half run with three free throws from Jalen Paige with 6:33 remaining, making the score 81-68 in favor of the Fighting Muskies.
The Quakers, determined to earn their elusive first OAC victory of the season, answered with an 11-0 run over the next three minutes fueled by three free throws from Andrew Russell and a triple from Will Patrick. Muskingum stopped the run with a free throw to go up three (82-79), but an old-fashioned three-point play from Jordan Jones tied the game 82-82. The Muskies were assessed a technical foul, and Nathan Scott converted the two free throws to give Wilmington back the advantage.
The Quakers took the ball after the free throws thanks to the technical, and D.J. Iles hit a layup with 1:13 to play putting the visitors up 86-82. After a defensive stop, Jordan Jones was fouled and connected on both free throw attempts, growing Wilmington's lead to six.
Muskingum would get within three points (90-87) with just seconds to play, but Kevin Lewis put the game out of reach with a free throw on the ensuing possession as the Muskies were forced to foul down the stretch.
"That was a huge win and a gutsy performance for us," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "I'm proud of the way the guys kept grinding."
Patrick led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field in 22 minutes off the bench. For the second consecutive game, the Pickerington Central High School alumnus turned in a career-high performance.
"Will Patrick was a monster tonight," Hunt said. "He played at a very high level."
Scott finished with 18 points while Russell added 13 including eight rebounds. Jordan Jones also finished in double figures with 10 points.
Marcus Dempsey, who game into the game averaging over 28.0 points per game, led the Muskies with 25 points and five assists. Devon Part had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Muskingum held the advantage in shooting percentage from the field 50.0 percent (28-of-56) to 43.9 percent (29-of-66), but Wilmington made 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) three-pointers compared to 8-of-20 (40.0 percent) for Muskingum. Both teams converted at least 20 free throws.
Wilmington (5-8, 1-6 OAC) hosts league-leading John Carroll University on Saturday. Tip-off from Fred Raizk Arena is scheduled for 3 p.m.