WOOSTER — Previous to the tipoff towards Allegheny Faculty in a North Coast Athletic Convention quarterfinal matchup Tuesday, Faculty of Wooster head coach Steve Moore lastly allowed himself to face the fact that his legendary profession will quickly be over.
The third-seeded Combating Scots made sure with a 27-Four run to start out the second half that their beloved coach will likely be on the sideline for one more recreation, utilizing a whole workforce effort to energy a 92-66 rout of the sixth-seeded Gators.
“All season lengthy, all people’s been asking me if I’m fascinated by the tip of the season,” mentioned Moore, 67, who introduced final March that his 33rd 12 months because the Scots’ coach could be his final. “I’ve at all times mentioned, ‘No. No. I’m simply fascinated by the following recreation.’
“Tonight, I’ve to confess it did cross my thoughts that this might have been the final recreation ever teaching for me.”
The Scots (19-7) superior to an NCAC semifinal matchup towards Denison on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Wittenberg. The host Tigers will play Oberlin at 5:30, with the winners assembly within the title recreation and vying for an computerized berth into the NCAA Division III Match on Saturday at Four p.m.
Senior Danyon Hempy led the best way with a game-high 35 factors, with 24 of them coming within the second half. The 6-foot-5 guard set a Scots’ scoring report for an NCAC event recreation and now has 1,959 profession factors to go Bryan Nelson (Class of 2003) and transfer into third on this system’s profession scoring record. He additionally joined Tom Dinger (Class of 1971) because the second participant in Wooster historical past to high 600 factors in a season two occasions.
Junior Dontae Williams added 18 factors and 10 rebounds for the Scots, whereas sophomore Najee Hardaway netted 12 factors to associate with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Twelve completely different gamers scored for Wooster.
Hempy wasn’t fascinated by any milestones previous to the sport. He simply wished to erase the bitter style of an 88-87 additional time loss towards DePauw on Saturday and maintain the season going.
The Scots have made a Division III report 17 straight NCAA event appearances, but when they don’t win the NCAC tourney, that streak is in severe jeopardy. Even when they win the NCAC, final night time was nonetheless in all probability the ultimate house recreation for Moore, retiring longtime assistant coach Bruce Martin and the seniors as they’d be lengthy photographs to host an NCAA recreation.
“There was loads of emotion (Saturday), and it was actually onerous dropping on Senior Evening and Coach Moore’s ceremony night time,” mentioned Hempy, who related on 14 of 27 subject purpose makes an attempt, together with a pair of thunderous two-handed slam dunks. “We put that behind us as quickly as we may and acquired again to work Sunday and had been fortunate to tug this one out.
“We all know what we’re able to enjoying like and we’ve simply acquired to go on the market and do it. Once we play with depth and have stable protection, we predict we’re fairly good.”
Allegheny (14-12), which snapped an unbelievable 48-game dropping streak towards Wooster in the identical Timken Fitness center with an 89-84 win on Jan. 29, seemed robust early on.
The Gators tied the Scots at 23-all on a layup by Caden Hinckley with 6:15 left within the first half, however Hardaway put Wooster forward for good by skying for a tip-in with 5:48 left. He adopted with two straight layups and added a coast-to-coast drive to place the Scots up 33-25 with 2:13 left within the half.
“Najee actually gave us a spark,” mentioned Moore, who’s second in Division III historical past with 865 profession wins (778 at Wooster). “These are huge baskets that he acquired close to the tip of the primary half.”
Khaylen Mahdi closed the primary half by grabbing an offensive rebound and connecting on a last-second, 15-foot jumper, which bounced on nearly each a part of the rim earlier than falling in.
“I simply love that I used to be in a position to are available in and play for my teammates and provides them a lift that they wanted,” mentioned Hardaway, who performed arguably his finest recreation for the Scots. “We’ve mentioned all week that we do not need this to be our final recreation so I am simply glad I used to be in a position to assist the workforce.”
Wooster got here out on fireplace within the second half, capturing 6-for-Eight from the ground in comparison with 1-for-Eight for the Gators. Hempy led a 16-2 run with seven factors and issues solely acquired worse as Wooster turned it right into a 27-Four blitz.
Allrgheny coach Ben Simmons known as Steve Moore, “probably the greatest coaches in our career at any stage.” Simmons totally anticipated the Scots to shake off their prior loss, he simply wished that his workforce may have had a greater capturing night time.
“Our photographs simply weren’t falling,” mentioned Simmons, whose workforce shot 35 % from the ground in comparison with 59 % for the Scots. “We acquired some attractiveness across the basket … then a few of our guards acquired some actually extensive open seems to be and so they do not fall and it simply snowballs.
“Wooster jumped up and made photographs and so they acquired a bit of sizzling on a run and we could not cease the bleeding. I’m actually happy with our guys for preventing to the tip, however we simply couldn’t get well from that run to start out the second half.”
Freshman Keeno Holmes led the Gators with 20 factors, whereas senior Rawls added 15.
Moore on the turnaround from Saturday: “Our guys had been intense and actually got here to play protection tonight. I believed Trenton Tipton did a wonderful job defensively on Rawls, who scored 16 however was held beneath his common. Peyton Bennington (5 assists) spelled Tipton and likewise performed nicely.”
Simmons on Allegheny basketball: “We’re a program on the rise. This is without doubt one of the few successful seasons within the 2000s. It’s not simple to win on this convention, however this group discovered a method and I am happy with every man in that locker room. These three seniors imply the world to me — that is my first recruiting class.”
That is the primary time since 1997 that the Scots weren’t a No. 1 or No. 2 seed for the NCAC Match, however they’ve reached the NCAC semifinals for the 24th consecutive 12 months.
It’s been an inconsistent season for the third-seeded Scots, however they’ve to be ok with going through seventh-seeded Denison (11-15) on Friday. The Massive Pink upset second-seeded Wabash 75-69 final night time, sending the Little Giants into the offseason with a 17-9 mark.
In Tuesday’s different quarterfinal video games, top-seeded Wittenberg (25-1) defeated Ohio Wesleyan (12-14) 69-55, and fifth-seeded Oberlin Faculty (15-11) knocked off fourth-seeded DePauw College (14-12) 75-63.
Wouldn’t it’s becoming if there was a Scots vs. Tigers NCAC title matchup in Moore’s final season? The Scots must first care for enterprise towards Denison, however the bracket is definitely primed for legendary rivals Wooster and Wittenberg to sq. off within the last.