WOOSTER, Ohio – Junior Danyon Hempy became the 44th College of Wooster men's basketball great to surpass 1,000 career points, and the 21st-ranked Fighting Scots' efforts in the second half were simply remarkable during a 92-59 win over Denison University on Wednesday evening at Timken Gymnasium.
Wooster (13-3, 8-1 North Coast Athletic Conference), now winners of six straight, quickly checked Hempy's 1,000th point off Wednesday's to-do list, as the junior elevated on a set play from an inbound pass and dropped in the milestone bucket with 18:40 to go in the first half. However, it took until late in the opening half for the Scots to get going, as Denison's (5-10, 2-7 NCAC) Jack Coulter's three-pointer with 1:47 left had the Big Red within three at 35-32.
The Scots' bench, led by sophomore Keonn Scott and freshman Brandon Styers, quickly staked Wooster to an 11-point halftime lead at 43-32 after a pair of three-pointers. Prior to that, senior Reece Dupler dropped in two of his 20 points with a jumper from just outside the paint.
Wooster's strong closing stretch to the opening half led to a second-half clinic, where the Scots went 15-for-19 from the floor during the opening 12:19. Defensively, Wooster was equally as impressive with six blocked shots and four steals during that span.
At the onset of the second half, it was Hempy getting the job done on both ends of the floor, starting with the Scots' first seven of an eventual 49 tallies in the scoring column. On the defensive end, Hempy logged the Scots' first blocked shot of the period, and even Dupler put his name down in the rejected column with his sixth blocked shot of the season.
Right after his block, Dupler picked up a head of steam offensively and went off on a personal 7-0 run that was part of a larger 17-0 scoring spree. Factored in there was a fast-break old-school three-point play after a steal by the speedy senior.
After Dupler's scoop-and-score at the 14:17 mark, sophomore Dontae Williams stepped up with some active hands on the defensive end. That led to two steals for the sophomore in a three-possession span, and the forward got in on the offensive fun with a layup.
At one point, Wooster logged a rare feat – three blocked shots on a single possession. That happened right before the second-half's midpoint when Williams rejected Matt Redmond's jumper, Hempy swatted aside Conor Fenton's lay-in attempt, and Williams was right there defending in the paint after Fenton corralled his own miss.
Hempy led Wooster with a game-high 23 points, and coupled with Dupler's 20, it's the fourth time the returning all-conference duo has both surpassed 20 points in a game this year. Scott upped his career-high again, this time to 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting. Other stats to note included six rebounds and four assists by senior Eric Bulic and a combined seven steals by Dupler and senior Trey Miller.
Wooster shot 57.8 percent (37-for-64) for the game and settled for a 66.7 percent (20-for-30) clip in the second half after the 15-for-19 start. The Scots nine turnovers marked the fourth time this season Wooster's had a single-digit total in that stat and the third time in the last four games.
Matt Doyle led Denison with 11 points and four assists, while Fenton secured nine rebounds.
The Big Red shot 35.5 percent (22-for-62) for the game and Denison's just the second team to out-rebound the Scots this season. Denison won the battle on the boards 37-32.
Wednesday's game marked the midpoint of league play. Wooster sits in second-place and is one game back of No. 14 Wabash College (15-1, 9-0 NCAC).
Next, Wooster hosts Hiram College (8-8, 5-4 NCAC) at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Note, the start time has been moved up two hours to account for Saturday's projected weather forecast in the area.