Freshman Brandon Smith scored a career-high 31 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Wilmington College men’s basketball team fell to No. 7 Marietta Saturday, 98-85, in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Fred Raizk Arena in Hermann Court.
“Brandon made shots and he made plays all day long,” said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt. “The guys did a good job of finding him on some early kick outs that really got him going. He is a talented offensive player, no doubt.”
Smith (Lebanon, OH/Lebanon), whose previous career-high was 18 points, was 10-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, and was 6-of-7 from the foul line. He added two assists.
Marietta scored 15 of the game’s first 20 points to open up a quick 10-point lead, and Wilmington never led.
Despite the early deficit, the Fightin’ Quakers scored eight straight to pull to within two. The two teams traded first-half runs, and when it was all said and done in the first half, Wilmington trailed by just four.
The Pioneers pulled away in the second half, mainly thanks to their ability to hit the offensive glass. They pulled down 11 of their 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 24 second-chance points. Wilmington was out-rebounded, 41-27. With their physical presence, MC attempted 20 more free throws than Wilmington.
“I thought there were more physical and out-toughed us, especially down the stretch when they pulled away,” said Hunt. “We are going through it, and we are learning every game what we need to do to compete. But we didn’t do it enough today.”
Senior Zach McCorkle (Cincinnati, OH/Winton Woods) finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Nathan Scott (Sardinia, OH/Eastern) tied a career-high with 11 points and pulled down a career-high six boards.
Wilmington (3-16 overall, 2-12 OAC) travels to Otterbein 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in OAC action.