The Wilmington College men’s basketball team shot 33 percent from the field and ended the non-conference portion of its schedule with an 84-64 loss to NAIA Campbellsville Monday at Hermann Court’s Fred Raizk Arena.
“We are a struggling offensive basketball team right now,” said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt. “When you struggle to score points, it puts your defense in a bind. We just didn’t have enough opportunities, especially in the first half, to get our defense set.”
Wilmington shot just 9-of-30 (30 percent) in the first half, and managed just one free throw attempt as the Tigers raced out to a 44-21 lead.
Despite trailing by 23 at half, Wilmington continued to scrap throughout the entire second half.
“Progress was made,” said Hunt. “We talked at halftime about being more aggressive and not settling. We are moving on. We have 13 league games to go with a lot of great opportunities ahead of us. As we said after the game, there is no quit in any of us and we are going to fight to the bitter end.”
The biggest difference in the second half as WC outscored Campbellsville, 43-40, was Wilmington’s willingness to attack. The Fightin’ Quakers took 21 of their 22 free throw attempts in the final 20 minutes.
Senior Chris Jackson (Ostrander, OH/Buckeye Valley) and sophomore Nathan Scott (Sardinia, OH/Eastern) epitomized the change in Wilmington’s aggressiveness.
“I thought Nate’s energy and physicality were great, and Chris is the only person on this team that has a championship ring, and knows what it takes. It shows in his effort on a daily basis,” said Hunt.
Scott finished with just three points, but stuffed the stat sheet with his hustle. He finished with four defensive rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Senior Zach McCorkle (Cincinnati, OH/Winton Woods) and sophomore Christian Jones (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton) combined for 21 points on 6-of-22 shooting.
“They are going to the focal point of every team we play from here on out,” said Hunt. “They both are going to have to deal with that adversity, and I am confident both of them will. They are both learning on the job. (Learning) how to be lead dogs and leading scorers is a hard thing in college basketball.”
Jones led the team with 11 points and three rebounds, while McCorkle added 10 points and four rebounds. Sophomore point guard D.J. Iles (Fayetteville, OH/Fayetteville-Perry) pulled down a team-high five rebounds and dished out a team-high three assists. He added eight points and two steals.
Wilmington (1-9 overall) stays home 3 p.m. Saturday, hosting No. 18 Mount Union in Ohio Athletic Conference action.