Tigers Fall To Wooster In NCAC Tournament Semifinals

Zack Leahy led the Tigers with 16 points. File Photo | Erin Pence
Zack Leahy led the Tigers with 16 points. File Photo | Erin Pence

WOOSTER, Ohio – The Wooster Fighting Scots broke open a tight game with a game-closing 17-5 run to pull out a 78-66 victory over the Wittenberg Tigers in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Tournament semifinals.

The Tigers tied the game at 61 on a lay-up by junior Scott Masin (New Carlisle, Ohio/Bethel) with 5:12 remaining, but the Scots took control from that point. While Wittenberg missed 10 of its final 11 shots from the field, Wooster slowly pulled away to reach the conference championship game. Top-seeded regular season champion Wooster will take on second-seeded Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday in search of its fifth straight NCAC Tournament title.

The Tigers saw their season come to an end with records of 17-10 overall and 9-7 in the NCAC regular season, good for a three-way tie for third place in the standings. Three of Wittenberg's losses came to the Scots, who are ranked 17th in the latest d3hoops.com national poll.

Wittenberg shot 63.2 percent in the first half, but the Scots kept pace thanks to significant advantages in the rebounding and turnover departments. For the game, Wooster held a 34-28 advantage on the boards, and the Scots committed just four turnovers, compared to 11 for Wittenberg.

Wooster led 40-37 at halftime as the Scots took a whopping 14 more shots from the field. By game's end, the Scots had shot 45.8 percent from the field and, just as importantly, they hit 21-of-24 shots from the free throw line, including a nearly perfect 14-of-15 over the final 20 minutes.

Wittenberg ended up shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Masin recorded his 14th double-double of the 2012-13 season with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Zack Leahy (Rossford, Ohio/Rossford) led the Tigers with 16 points. Sophomore Sam Collins (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) added 12 points.