Adam Goetz scored a game-high 22 points for Kentucky Wesleyan College, and the Panthers rolled out to a 33-point halftime lead before wrapping up a 100-68 victory over Oakland City on Wednesday night at the Sportscenter.
Goetz also dished out a game-high nine assists in helping the Panthers (1-3) capture their first win of the season.
"It feels nice to actually get that one," said Goetz, a 6-foot-1 senior guard. "It's a relief off our shoulders. ... It feels good to get that 'W.'"
Junior guard Jo Griffin added 19 points and led all players with nine rebounds, while sophomore forward Nick Fort recorded a career-best 11 points.
"Jo was knocking the rust off a little bit," KWC coach Drew Cooper said. "He hadn't played for two years, being at the University of Louisville and his role there. I like to think he'll only get better.
"Since we got here in late August, Nick Fort has been as good as I could possibly ask for."
Senior guard Erik Bell, senior forward Mohamed Abu Arisha and sophomore guard Wyatt Battaile scored nine points apiece, with Bell passing for seven assists. Former Apollo High School standout Zach Hopewell scored eight points and swiped a game-high four steals.
The Panthers finished with 30 assists on 40 made baskets, which Goetz called "the pride of our offense."
Oakland City (1-4) scored the game's first points with Jacob Sanford's shot from outside, but KWC scored 54 of the next 75 points to build a substantial halftime lead.
The Mighty Oaks didn't give up, though. A 3-pointer by D.J. Redding cut KWC's advantage to 69-49 with 10:03 remaining, but consecutive 3s by Goetz helped spark a 21-12 scoring run that essentially sealed the victory.
"We're very fortunate that Goetz hit some shots there when the score got to 21, 20 points," Cooper said. "With the way Oakland City shoots the ball, and they can shoot it, for us not to come out and try to improve and build confidence through our effort disturbs me.
"The first half couldn't have gone better with our buy-in and ability to win the inches, but our mission certainly was not accomplished."
For the game, the Panthers shot 51.9% from the field, including 14-of-38 from 3-point range (36.8%), and 6-of-9 from the foul line (66.7%). KWC outrebounded Oakland City 45-29, in addition to leading in paint scoring (46-26), second-chance scoring (21-10), fastbreak points (14-7) and bench production (37-21).
Oakland City, led by 15 points from Redding, finished with a 39.1% shooting clip -- aided by 50% shooting in the second half -- and made 8-of-26 attempts from deep (30.9%) and 10-of-11 on free throws (90.0%).
The Panthers will get an extended break before returning to action Nov. 29 against Wheeling in the KWC Thanksgiving Classic.
"It's gonna be a lot of help, honestly," Goetz said. "The last two opponents we played each had nine days to prepare for us. It's gonna feel nice to have eight full days to prepare for someone else. It's gonna be good to get back to basics, work on our fundamental drills, and go in and watch film, as well."