DEFIANCE, OHIO -- Junior Jonathan Ragland (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy) scored a career-high 16 points, but the Defiance College men's basketball team lost a close, 88-80, decision against non-conference opponent Wilmington College at the Karl H. Weaner Center.
The two teams almost shot identical numbers overall for the game with Wilmington recording one more field goal attempt than DC. The difference in the game were two additional three-pointers by the Quakers who also converted 81.0 percent (17-of-21) of their free-throw attempts, compared to 52.4 percent shooting (11-of-21) by the Yellow Jackets at the charity stripe.
Ragland led four DC players in double figures with his career-best 16 points on six-of-11 shooting (54.5 percent), including three-of-six (50.0 percent) from long range. He was also tied for second on the team in rebounding with five boards. Freshman Payton Ross (Indianapolis, Ind./Arlington) was second in scoring with 14 points and senior Michael Parker (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) added 13 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds. Sophomore Randall Aikins, Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth) rounded out the high scorers with 11 points. In addition, senior Devin Mangas (Leipsic) dished out a team-high six assists.
Both teams battled in the first half with six lead changes and seven ties. Wilmington (3-2) led for the majority of the opening period and quickly jumped out to a 9-3 lead just under five minutes in. Defiance (0-4) then rattled off six straight points to even the score at 9-9 on a layup by freshman DeMario Hill (Cincinnati/Cincinnati Taft) at the 14:31 mark.
The Quakers eventually regained a six-point advantage, but the Yellow Jackets rallied again and evened the game at 22-22 with another 6-0 run that ended on a jumper by Hill with 7:30 remaining in the half. Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way as the two teams swapped leads. Wilmington boasted a slight lead in the final minute of play, but a layup by Chris Holmes (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) ended the scoring and pulled DC to within a point, 35-34, at the break.
The second half began with an 11-2 scoring run by Wilmington that gave the Quakers their first double-digit lead of the game, 46-36, with 17:48 to go. Defiance answered with an ensuing, 15-5, run of its own that ended in a layup by Parker to tie the score for the eighth time in the game, 51-51.
Nearing the midway point of the period, the two teams were tied at, 59-59, when Wilmington scored seven straight points to go up 66-59 with 9:26 to play. A layup by Hill, followed by a layup by Ragland, pulled the Jackets to within three points, 66-63, but that would be as close as DC got the remainder of the game.
Wilmington gradually began to pull away and went back up by double figures with 5:17 to play en route to recording its largest margin of the game of 12 points, 82-70, at the 3:13 mark. Defiance made things interesting with under 30 seconds to go, cutting the deficit to five points, 85-80, after a layup by Ross as part of a 4-0 mini run. The Quakers put the game away at the free-throw line, however, and rounded out the scoring with three-of-four free-throw attempts to go on to the 88-80 final.
Defiance will seek its first win of the season when it hosts Franklin (Ind.) College on Saturday, Dec. 3 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener at the Weaner Center. The game will be part of a basketball doubleheader with the Yellow Jacket women's team. The women will tip-off against the Grizzlies at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 4 p.m.