The Cardinals got a game-high and career-best 24 points from Derick Beresford '13 (#3, main photo) and an additional 18 points from Shasha Brown '13 (#11, photo insert upper left) to help pull away from visiting Anna Maria in the opening round of the Inn at Middletown Tip-Off Tournament Fri., Nov. 19. But after a rally by the visitors narrowed a 15-point Wesleyan lead to just two with less than three minutes remaining, Beresford hit a pivotal three-pointer with 1:00 to go to push the lead to 71-66 and Wesleyan hung on for the 74-69 victory. The win put Wesleyan into the championship game against Staten Island, a 71-64 victor over Ursinus in its opener.
Wesleyan led by as many as seven in the first half (16-9) before Anna Maria roared back to seize a 25-22 edge. Still the teams went into intermission deadlocked at 34-34. A 22-7 burst to begin the second half spotted the home squad the game’s largest advantage. Beresford and Brown each had six points during the run, joined by Jason Mendell '12 with five. Though Wesleyan held a comfortable 63-49 lead with 7:33 to go, Anna Maria whittled the gap to 68-66 with a 17-5 run of its own. The Amcats had a chance to tie at the 2:00 mark but missed the attempt and the Cardinals eventually cashed in at the other end with Beresford’s second-chance three-pointer. He had missed an initial shot but Mendell collared the rebound for Wesleyan, keeping the ball in the Cardinals’ possession.
Wesleyan had four players reach double-digits as Mendell and Mike Callaghan '13 chipped in with 10 each. Callaghan took game rebounding honors with eight. Brown had a game-best six assists.
The Cardinals, who had never before faced
Anna Maria on the court, took on another new opponent in Staten Island
in the tournament title tilt Sat., Nov. 20. Against the Dolphins, Wesleyan led most of the first half and by as many as nine (31-22 and 35-26) before CSI narrowed the gap to 40-35, and then 44-41 at halftime. From that point, neither team led by more than five points until the final two minutes of the game when the Dolphins extended a five-point lead to nine, 81-72, with a pair valuable buckets, the last one with 1:35 remaining. The Cardinals got no closer than six down the stretch and Staten Island prevailed, 85-78.
Wesleyan outrebounded CSI, 39-27, paced by Glen Thomas '14 who had 11 boards. All-tournament picks Beresford and Brown collected 19 and 18 points, respectively, against the Dolphins. That gave Beresford 43 and Brown 36 for the tournament. Brown and Jason Mendell '12 shared game-high honors with four assists apiece.
The Cardinals inaugurated Little Three play this season when the squad hosted Williams Tues., Nov. 23 in a game that does not count in the NESCAC standings. The Cardinals executed a stellar game plan, as the team committed just three turnovers in the contest and shot 45.5 percent form the floor, but in the end the #8 ranked Ephs escaped with an 80-76 win.
Behind an 18-4 run in the first half, the Cardinals forged a 27-14 lead with Otis Poisson '11 coming off the bench to score eight points during the stretch. Williams whittled the margin to 40-37 at halftime and took a short-lived 46-45 edge before eight straight by the Cardinals, seven of them from Brown, who had a game-high 25 points, put Wesleyan back on top 53-46. After Williams tied the game at 60-60, Beresford, who had 17 in the contest, scored five in a row to put Wesleyan back up, 65-60, with 5:08 to play. But when the Ephs went back ahead 66-65, it was part of a 20-8 burst that decided the game. Brown also led Wesleyan in reounds (6) and assists (5) on the night.
The Cardinals take their act on the road for the first time this season Sat., Nov. 27, traveling to Baruch for a 3 p.m. game. The contest features a post-game reception for NYC area alums and well-wishers.
(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)