The Wilmington College men's basketball team couldn't hold a late lead Wednesday, and fell to Muskingum, 81-77, in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Hermann Court in Fred Raizk Arena.
"We still have to make winning plays at winning times, and we didn't do that," said Wilmington head coach K.C. Hunt. "We had every opportunity to win this game; too many mental lapses and too many breaks throughout the game. This team has to learn how to finish. We've had several opportunities to finish game, and we have been able to.
"It's a process, but I am tired of coming into the locker room saying 'hey, we should have, could have won this game'," Hunt continued. "You are what your records say you are. We just have to get better."
Wilmington took the three-point lead on a three-pointer by junior D.J. Iles (Fayetteville, OH/Fayetteville Perry) with 3:22 remaining, and still held that advantage as Iles went to the bench with his fifth foul. A quick 8-2 run gave the Muskies the lead with 25 seconds remaining.
Freshman Will Greene (Fairfield, OH/Roger Bacon) pulled WC to within one, and after Muskingum split a pair of free throws, Wilmington had a chance for the tie or victory with seven seconds remaining. However, the Fightin' Quakers turned the ball over on the inbounds.
"We didn't have any timeouts left, but we just have to get a shot in that possession," said Hunt. "We panicked a little bit with different personnel on the floor. At the end of the day, you have to keep your head in that situation and give yourself a chance to make a play."
Muskingum sealed the win with two free throws one second later.
The game featured 18 lead changes and eight ties, but the Muskies did a lot of their damage on the glass. They converted 11 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points, while Wilmington had two second-chance points on seven offensive boards.
Wilmington held the advantage in points in the paint (36-34), points off turnovers (17-12) and in bench points (34-12).
Freshman Noah Chatman (Goodluttsville, TN/Beech) finished with a team-high 14 points and three rebounds as all 12 players that played scored. Sophomore Will Patrick (Chester, PA/Pickerington Central (OH)) added 10 points, three rebounds and two assists.
Three players – junior Christian Jones (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton), junior Nathan Scott (Sardinia, OH/Eastern) and freshman Kameron Moore (Cincinnati, OH/Purcell Marian) – all had nine points. Scott added a team-high six boards.
Wilmington (6-8 overall, 1-6 OAC) travels to John Carroll 3 p.m. Saturday in Ohio Athletic Conference action.