Wilmington Men's Basketball 2019-20 Season in Review

The Wilmington College men's basketball team overcame a rough start to the season to once again qualify for the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament in 2019-20. There, the Fightin' Quakers pushed nationally-ranked Marietta College to the brink. This is the story of the 2019-20 Wilmington College men's basketball team.

Wilmington began its season at Mount St. Joseph University for two games against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) foes on Nov. 8-9.

The Quakers fell to Transylvania University, an eventual NCAA Division III Tournament team, 87-78 in the opener, but rebounded to top MSJ at the Harrington Center.

After a 86-65 loss at the College of Wooster in the final season of legendary head coach Steve Moore's career, Wilmington faced rival Earlham College in a Quaker Bowl Rivalry game at Hermann Court on Nov. 25.

Wilmington blitzed Earlham from the start, scoring the game's first nine points.

That lead would grow to 25-10 midway through the first half.

Earlham cut the deficit to a basket, but it was Wilmington who took a 41-35 lead into halftime.

Earlham took its first lead four minutes into the second half, but Wilmington battled back to take a 72-65 advantage with two minutes to play.

A flurry of triples as well as a couple of missed free throws led to Earlham having the ball down 79-76 in the final minute.

The visitors converted yet another triple while being fouled on the shot. The free throw fell through, and Earlham left Hermann Court with what felt like, to the hosts, a stolen victory.

Unfortunately for Wilmington, that misfortune proved to carry over into the Crown Plaza Captain's Shootout hosted by Christopher Newport University in late November. Facing undefeated University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the Quaker held a late lead only to see the Pointers, trailing by two in the final seconds, hit a basket with a foul and make the free throw.

A loss to the University of Texas-Dallas followed, and Wilmington found itself sitting at 1-5 with OAC play beginning. It turned out, conference competition was just what the Quakers needed to turn their season around.

Wilmington hosted Heidelberg, and the Quakers' recent bad fortune at the end of games finally swung the other direction.

Heidelberg led for the majority of the first half, including by double digits at points, but Wilmington battled back to make the second half a nip-and-tuck affair.

The Quakers found themselves trailing 68-61 after a Student Prince triple with 3:08 to play. Staring at a potential fifth consecutive loss, Wilmington put together a 10-1 run to end the game capped by a game-winning basket from Jeffery Mansfield.

DaeShawn Jackson's basket that pulled WC within one. The steal and game-winner followed.

The Quakers continued that momentum with a convincing 83-69 victory at Ohio Northern University. Wilmington shot a blistering 61.1 percent from the field including a 45-percent clip from beyond the three-point arc.

DaeShawn Jackson led the way with a 29-point performance.

Wilmington then traveled to the University of Mount Union and fell 84-74 in a hard-fought contest. The Quakers then headed north to Michigan to face Olivet College in the final game of the 2019 calendar year. The Quakers overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to escape the Cutler Center with a victory.

The Quakers opened the New Year with consecutive home contests against Marietta College and Capital University. Wilmington fell short in two close contests.

Photos of Marietta and Mount Union contests.

After a trip to University Heights did not yield a victory, the Quakers snapped the three-game skid with a 71-61 triumph over Otterbein University for a 16th consecutive time.

In the Quakers' following game, at Baldwin Wallace University, Jeffery Mansfield had a career afternoon. Unfortunately for Wilmington, the Yellow Jackets took the win 87-84.

The Quakers then traveled to Muskingum University and had to face the nation's No. 2 scorer in Marcus Dempsey. Wilmington ramped up its defense, holding Dempsey, who averaged 31 points per game entering the contest, to just 13 in a blowout victory.

Wilmington closed out the month with two home contests - again falling in a close game 92-84 to Mount Union and dispatching Ohio Northern 88-69 for the season sweep.

Heidelberg got revenge on Wilmington to open February, but the Quakers rebounded with an 85-80 road win at Otterbein. What followed was a two-game home stand against Baldwin Wallace and Muskingum.

Jeffery Mansfield, who led all scorers in the team's meeting in Berea, got off to a hot start giving WC a 40-25 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Quakers kept up perhaps their best defensive performance of the season to date.

Abdul Kanu led the way with 24 points and Wilmington won comfortably, 85-70.

Against Muskingum, Dempsey scored a dozen points in the opening stages, but was held to eight the rest of the way.

Muskingum led for over 34 minutes of the game and looked to get a season split up 70-64 with four minutes to go.

Wilmington had other ideas, however, ending the game on a 15-4 run to claim a 79-74 victory and the season sweep.

Riding a three-game winning streak, the Quakers ran into a buzz saw in the form of Ban Johnson Arena. Thanks to 61 first-half points, the Pioneers led nearly the entire way to a 105-74 win.

Two more losses followed - at Capital and at home against John Carroll - to close the season.

Wilmington still qualified for the OAC Tournament, but had to travel back to Marietta, where it had lost just 10 days earlier.

This time around, however, things went very differently. Marietta jumped out to a seven-point lead early, but Wilmington battled back within a single basket in the final minute of the first half.

Unfortunately for the visitors, a banked triple from Marietta gave the Pioneers a six-point (44-38) halftime lead.

The entire second half was played within an eight-point window. Marietta would lead by that many, and Wilmington tied it 66-66 with a jumper less than seven minutes to play.

Marietta held the lead down the stretch, and despite the Quakers getting within a basket on multiple occasions, Wilmington wouldn't get a chance to tie the game. The Pioneers held on for the win.

Jeffery Mansfield and DaeShawn Jackson picked up All-OAC honors with the former garnering First Team recognition and the later being named to the Second Team.

The OAC's second-leading scorer, Mansfield led the Fightin' Quakers in scoring at 19.6 points per game while also being the squad's leading rebounder at 4.5 boards per contest. Additionally, Mansfield aided one of the nation's best turnover margin teams by tallying 1.4 steals per 40 minutes. A very consistent scorer, the Wilmington High School alumnus scored in double figures in all but one game this season along with crossing the 20-point plateau 10 times including a career-high, 41-point performance at the University of Mount Union on Jan. 25.

Jackson, a First Team All-OAC selection last season, was second on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game. He was also won of four Quakers to grab over four rebounds per contest. The Springfield High School alumnus scored in double figures in 21-of-25 games including a season-high, 29-point performance in a win at Ohio Northern University on Dec. 11, 2019.

Finally, Colin Myers earned WC's Male Clyde Lamb honors for the entire athletic department.