Cards Nearly Make NESCAC Tourney but Fall Short vs. Colby in Last 4 Minutes, Beat Bard in Final Game
Needing a win over Colby on the road Sat., Feb. 14 in the final regular-season NESCAC game to earn the eighth and final spot in the NESCAC tournament, the Cardinals fell short of their goal despite a double-double by Stan Grayson '09 (#45, main photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) and 14 points from Jason Mendell '12 (#34, photo insert upper left by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com). Colby took the lead for good with 4:10 left and pulled away behind an 18-4 run to capture the 68-56 victory.
With Grayson posting his fifth double-double of the year, scoring 15 points with 11 rebounds, and Mendell scoring in double-digits for the 13th consecutive game and 18th time this season, Wesleyan got off to a great start (11-1) and led by as many as 13 (23-10) during the first half. Though the Mules whittled the lead down to one at halftime, Wesleyan held on to the lead most of the second half, only in single digits, before a three-pointer by the Mules put them ahead to stay, 53-52.
Wesleyan ended the year with a non-conference game against Bard in a first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Cardinals rolled to a 92-67 victory to end the year with a 7-17 mark. Mendell racked up 19 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double while running his scoring streak to 14 games in a row with 11 or more points and 19 for the year. He led the team for the season with a 14.5 PPG average. His four three-pointers in the game gave him 50 on the season, also a team high.
Grayson added 18 points to finish the year with a 13.8 PPG figure. Dave Maltz '11 added 16 points while Kevin Scura '09 chipped in with 12. Grayson ranks among the NESCAC leaders for shooting percentage as he canned 58.9 percent of his field goals.
Mendell hit a trey with 12 minutes left in the first half to put Wesleyan ahead for good, 14-12, and the Cardinals went on a 17-2 burst over a four-minute span for a 28-14 advantage. It was 43-28 at intermission and the lead never fell below 13 points in the second half, eventually reaching 28 in the final minute.
On Tues., Feb. 17, Connecticut's NBC affiliate, WVIT-30, aired a segment featuring Wesleyan first-year head coach Joe Reilly and his illustrious coaching family (father Joe, brother Luke and uncle Gene). To watch the video, go to the link identified in the left-hand gray-shaded area.