Men's basketball snaps three-game skid
Candella named to All-Tournament team
December 1, 2012
Senior Brandon Candella was named to the All-Tournament team.
ST. LOUIS, MO – Faced with the possibility of falling to 1-4 for second straight season, the Wilmington College men’s basketball team turned up the pressure and pulled out the 66-61 victory over Tufts in the consolation game of the Lopata Classic Saturday on the campus of Washington University. The victory helped Wilmington snap a three-game losing streak.
“This was a great tournament for us,” said WC head coach K.C. Hunt. “It was high-level competition. Tufts is a very good team. They are super physical and we were able to match their physicality. I thought our pressure was good for 40 minutes. We made some big strides this week. We were very upset about our turnover performance against Thomas More. We have some big challenges ahead, but we definitely took a step forward.”
Coming off the 30-turnover game, Wilmington has taken care of the basketball over the last two games. The Quakers averaged just 10 giveaways in the Lopata Classic, while forcing 23 in each game. Wilmington converted the 23 miscues Saturday into 24 points against the Jumbos.
Trailing by five with a little more than five minutes remaining in the game, WC forced four consecutive turnovers and held the Jumbos to 1-of-7 from the field in claiming the victory. Five different players hit the scoring column as WC scored 10 of the last 12 points in game.
It was an eerily familiar situation for the Quakers. In their last two losses, Wilmington trailed by just points at the five-minute mark only to fall by double figures. This time, the Fightin’ Quakers made the plays.
“The simple reality of it those, we call them four-minute wars in practice, you have to defend, rebound and have good possessions,” said Hunt. “We had great possessions down the stretch. We stepped up guarded them and got rebounds.”
Wilmington got layup attempts on four straight possessions, converting three, and then marched to the line and sealed the victory.
Senior Brandon Candella (West Chester, OH/Lakota West), who was named to the All-Tournament team, led the team with 14 points and five rebounds. Sophomore R.J. Leppert (Liberty Township, OH/Lakota East) added 12 points, three assists, three steals and two rebounds.
With Malcolm Heard II (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) gaining a lion share of the attention inside, senior Miles Bankston (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills) took full advantage. The 6-5 forward scored a career-high 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Heard was held to seven points, nearly 10 points lower that his scoring average. But, Hunt doesn’t want the statistics to take away from his impact.
“Malcolm demands attention,” said Hunt. “His stat line may not look great, like today, but he still be a dominant player.”
Wilmington (2-3) will step into Ohio Athletic Conference action 7:30 p.m. Thursday as the Quakers will face Muskingum.