Marietta Prepares For Battle With No. 3 Wooster

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The No. 23 ranked Pioneers are set to face off against a strong No. 3 College of Wooster team Wednesday in a battle of Division III powerhouses.

Marietta is 4-0 on the season and is fresh off two solid road victories last week that saw them claim their rank. Wooster, who is also perfect with a record of 3-0, will look to prove that they deserve their high ranking in the poll.

The Pioneers lost this close matchup last season, 59-57, and are looking for some revenge against the Fighting Scots.

Wooster has begun to pick up some speed this season, winning the 20th annual Al Van Wie/Wooster Rotary Tournament last weekend with wins over preseason favorite Baldwin Wallace, 76-71, and then No. 5 Wheaton (Ill.) by a score of 77-73.

The Scots have many offensive threats coming into this game, but none look as dangerous as senior guard Doug Thorpe. Thorpe earned all-tournament honors and North Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week after he averaged 17.7 points in Wooster’s first three games this season.

But Marietta senior guard Tyler Hammond, a three-time honorable mention All-OAC selection, will provide leadership for the Pioneers. He is averaging 9.5 points per game, as well as 5.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists.

Hammond will have plenty of company on the scorer’s sheet as five players on the Pios’ roster are averaging more than 9.0 points per game and Marietta will rely on its depth and its bench points to beat a tough Wooster squad.

In terms of offensive output, junior post player A.J. Davis leads Marietta, averaging 13.8 points per game and 5.3 rebounds. The Pios will also look for RaNeal Ewing to provide a spark off the bench, as he is averaging 11.5 points a game while playing only 13 minutes per night.

The night will also be special because the Baby Steps Benefit for Paisley will be hosted by Marietta during the game. The program was created to donate funds to Paisley Skinner, the daughter of former Pioneer Thad Skinner and his wife Ashley. Paisley was diagnosed with a brain injury that causes her to have uncontrollable seizures.

A pregame happy hour and dinner will be served from 4-7 p.m. with 20 percent of those proceeds going to the Skinner family. All gate earnings will be donated to the Skinner family as well.

Tipoff in Ban Johnson Arena is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.