WILMINGTON, Ohio - The Wilmington College men's basketball team assisted on 20 of its 31 baskets in an 88-75 victory over Muskingum University in Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) action from Fred Raizk Arena on Wednesday evening.
Wilmington connected on its first two triple ties as Nathan Scott and Christian Jones gave the hosts a 6-0 lead early. Another three-pointer, this one coming off the hands of Will Patrick, broke a 6-6 tie at the 16:46 mark, but the Muskies would score nine of the next 11 points and lead 15-11 three minutes later. Patrick dialed up from long distance again on the next possession, and after a defensive stop, a Payton Smtih layup gave Wilmington back the lead.
The lead would change hands six times over the next six minutes until eight points from Patrick fueled a 15-5 run that would see four different Quakers score. Marcus Dempsey, the leading scorer in the OAC and third-highest scorer in NCAA Division III at 30.0 points per game, stemmed the bleeding with a layup to end the half and send Muskingum into the break trailing 43-34.
The Quakers scored the first two baskets of the second half to extend their advantage into double digits. The hosts lead would balloon to as many as 19 (59-40) seven minutes into the second half when Payton Smith found Kevin Lewis for a layup in transition. Muskingum would get its deficit down to 10 points (65-55) with 6:48 to play in regulation, but could not get within single digits as Wilmington closed out a season sweep of the Muskies.
Both team shot over 45 percent from the field, 31-of-68 for Wilmington and 27-of-60 for Muskingum, but the Quakers connected on 14-of-33 (42.4 percent) three-point attempts compared to just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) for the Muskies. Wilmington held a slight 37-36 edge in rebounding as well as a 20-to-11 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Individually, Christian Jones and Patrick both scored 21 points for the Quakers while Andrew Russell and Lewis each had 14 points. Russell and Scott both grabbed seven rebounds and Patrick dished out a team-high five assists.
"Christian [Jones] and Will [Patrick] both came out aggressive which is what we want them to do," Head Men's Basketball Coach K.C. Hunt said. "Drew [Andrew Russell] has been working hard on playing more around the basket. That was really nice to see."
Dempsey led Muskingum with 26 points in defeat while Devon Peart had 18 points and seven rebounds.
"I thought we did a nice job defensively on [Marcus] Dempsey," said Hunt. "We made him earn every basket he got. To hold him under his scoring average is a monumental effort for all of our guards."
Wilmington improves to 9-10 overall and 5-8 in OAC competition with the win. The Quakers have won five of their last six OAC contests after starting conference play 0-7. Wilmington will travel to John Carroll University for a 3 p.m. game on Saturday.