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BW Men’s Hoops Team Beats Wilmington, 71-67, in OAC Tourney; at Marietta on Thursday

Cameron Kuhn
Cameron Kuhn
BEREA, Ohio – Freshman guard Cam Kuhn (Vermilion) scored a team-high 20 points as the Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team defeated Ohio Athletic Conference rival Wilmington College, 71-67, in a quarter final OAC Tournament game in the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium in the Lou Higgins Center.

The victory was the third straight this season against Wilmington for BW (18-8) and avenges an OAC Tournament loss to the Quakers a year ago in the OAC semi-finals. The Yellow Jackets advance to play top-seeded Marietta College (24-2) in Thursday's OAC tourney semi-final in Marietta at 7:30 p.m. The 2015 OAC Championship Game is on Saturday.

In addition to Kuhn for BW, senior guard Justin Roth (Parma) had 13 points and sophomore forward Jake Fetherolf (Norwalk) had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Wilmington (11-14) ends its season and was led by senior guard Dwight Johnson's game-high 23 points.

In the first half, BW grabbed an early, 5-0 lead at 19:11 when senior forward Matt Dennis (Spring Hill, Fla./ Nature Coast Technical) made a layup, was fouled and made the free throw for a three-point play. The lead was 9-5 when Wilmington scored five straight points to take its only lead of the half at 10-9 at 14:32 when Leppert made his first of two first half three-pointers.

After the game was tied at 12-12, the Yellow Jackets regained the lead at 14-12 at 10:56 when junior forward Ryan Walsh (Easton, Pa./ Easton Area) made a layup to complete a fast break. The assist from senior point guard Jaron Crowe (Mentor) was his 472nd of his career and moved him into second place all-time in school history. The BW run continued and was 22-8 at its completion and the Jackets led 34-20 at 1:16 when Kuhn scored the last of his 13 first half markers. BW also led at halftime, 34-22.

In the second half, the Quakers outscored BW 18-5 to retake the lead at 40-39 at 14:31 when sophomore guard Law Williams made a triple. After three lead changes and four ties, BW scored four straight points to take a 59-55 lead at 4:01 when Dennis tipped in a missed shot.

With BW holding a precarious 61-59 lead and the shot clock at one second, Crowe launched a three-pointer that was dead-center for a 64-59 advantage with 1:11 left. Wilmington's Johnson made a driving layup at 59.3 seconds to cut the lead to 64-61. Roth increased the lead to 65-61 when he made two foul shots with 30.8 seconds left and the Quakers countered with a rebound basket by senior forward Jonathan Bibbs with 20.2 seconds left to make it 65-63.

Kuhn made two foul shots at 15.4 seconds to give BW a 67-63 lead but Johnson negated them and got Wilmington closer when he drove coast-to-coast and scored with 10.5 seconds left, was fouled and canned the charity toss. Following a BW timeout, the Quakers fouled Roth at 9.3 and he made both free throws for a 69-66 lead.

BW opted to foul Johnson with 5.1 seconds left. He made the first to make it 69-67 and missed the second on purpose.  BW's Fetherolf grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Wilmington with 4.4 seconds left.  He calmly made both foul shots to "ice" the win for BW.

The winner of the 2015 OAC Tournament receives an automatic berth in next week's NCAA Division III National Tournament.