MARIETTA – The Wilmington College men’s basketball team had its season come to an end Tuesday with a 93-78 loss to No. 4 Marietta in the first round of the Ohio Athletic Conference tournament at Ban Johnson Arena.
It marked the final collegiate game for seniors Chris Jackson (Ostrander, OH/Buckeye Valley) and Zach McCorkle (Cincinnati, OH/Winton Woods).
The nationally ranked Pioneers scored 11 of the game’s first 14 points, and never looked back. Wilmington’s deficit grew to as much as 17 with two minutes remaining in the first half, and then they went on a run.
Freshman Will Patrick (Chester, PA/Pickerington Central (OH)) sparked the run with a three-pointer and two free throws, and sophomore Christian Jones (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton) drilled a three-pointer to end the half.
McCorkle opened the second half with a basket and Patrick connected another three-pointer, and the WC’s deficit was just four points. Marietta pushed its cushion to as much as nine, but the Fightin’ Quakers had another rally in them. McCorkle’s three-point play with 9:19 remaining capped an 8-2 run, leaving Wilmington trailing by just two points.
Marietta put the game away with a 16-2 run immediately on the heels of the Fightin’ Quakers’ run.
“I think partly their depth wore us down a bit,” said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt. “But, we kind of imploded on ourselves. We took two questionable three-pointers and turned the ball over four straight times.”
Jones finished with 26 points, a career-high six assists, six rebounds and a career-high five steals to lead Wilmington.
“Christian Jones was phenomenal, not just statistically, but as a leader,” said Hunt. “We was vocal on both ends of the court, and he fought like crazy. Our backcourt of Christian Jones and D.J. Iles have a bright future. There are a lot of teams that won’t want to play us.”
Patrick added 11 points, two rebounds and two assists, while McCorkle chipped in with eight points and five rebounds.
The loss brings an end to a trying season.
“If it could happen to us, it did,” said Hunt. “We started the season with 22 players, and we suited up just 10 players tonight. Ultimately, we had a bunch of challenges, but at the end of the day, our young guys really fought all season.”