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Moore hoops for Wooster

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:50 PM

WOOSTER — Wooster College is back in the Division III Final Four for men’s basketball.

The Scots, who are coached by Monroeville graduate Steve Moore, advanced to the “Final Four” after win wins over the weekend, including topping Brockport State 94-87 in overtime Saturday.

“It’s really great to be playing this weekend,’’ Moore said.

Wooster is scheduled to play Amherst (Mass.) College at 6 p.m. Friday in the first of two semifinal games. The second game is Virginia Wesleyan (Norfolk, Va.) and Washington University (St. Louis). The tournament is at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.

The consolation game is at 2 p.m. Saturday with the finals set for 5 p.m.

“We’re familiar with their outstanding record (28-2) and they return a lot of guys,’’ Moore said of Amherst. “They have a lot of size and a veteran team.’’

This is the first time since the 2002-03 season that Wooster has moved on to the “Final Four.’’ They topped Hampden-Sydney 78-74 for a third-place finish after falling to Williams 74-72 in overtime during the semifinals that season.

But the Scots aren’t unfamiliar with the postseason, advancing to the NCAA tournament the last four years, including the “Elite Eight” in 2003-04.

Moore, in his 20th season with Wooster, said this season’s team was picked to do well from the outset, especially with four starters and four other letter-winners from a team that finished 26-4 in the 2005-06 campaign.

The returning group included all-Americans James Cooper and Tom Port.

“We were picked preseason No. 1 by Street & Smith,’’ Moore said. “It’s been an excellent season and they’ve accomplished a lot by winning the North Coast Athletic Conference and the conference tournament. We have a great group of young men that are hard workers.’’

Cooper and Port are the top scorers at 18.6 and 16.3 points per game, but two others are in double figures.

Wooster is 29-3 overall, 15-1 in the conference with the last loss to Wittenberg 74-71 Feb. 3. The Scots have captured 11 straight wins.

“We’re not a real big team,’’ Moore said. “We have a 6-foot-6 post and 6-6 and 6-3 forwards. We have good team speed and quickness and depth with an eight-man rotation.

Experience has also been a big factor in Wooster’s favor.

“They understand the ranking means nothing,’’ Moore said. “They’ve handled the ranking and experts very well.’’

Moore knows playing Amherst will be a challenge.

“We have to play well at both ends,’’ he said. “We need to execute on offense, but you don’t win championships without playing defense. All the “Final Four” teams are very good. It comes down to defense and rebounding.’’

Moore has built quite a resume in the coaching profession, especially at Wooster with 15 NCAA Tournament berths, 12 regular-season conference and 10 NCAC tournament titles.

“It’s a great place to coach,’’ he said. “We’ve had outstanding support from the university, administration and community.’’

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