Leading from start to finish, Wesleyan cruised to an 81-52 triumph in the first-ever meeting with Gordon on the road Thurs., Dec. 9, behind the 23-point effort of Shasha Brown '13 (#11, photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography,com). Scoring no less that 14 points in a game this season, Brown led the team in scoring for the fourth straight game as the Cardinals ran their win streak to five games with one contest remaining this semester. That came up Sat., Dec. 11 against the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Mariners had won the last three battles between the squads since the seldom-paired rivals ended a 21-year span without a game by playing during the 2007-08 season. Wesleyan last beat USMMA during the 1986-87 season.
The Mariners made it four straight over the Cardinals with a 74-67 victory after Wesleyan rallied from a 16-point deficit to take a one-point lead with less than five minutes remaining. A basket by Mike Callaghan '13 with 4:38 to go off a feed from Brown (his fourth assist of the game) put Wesleyan ahead, 63-62, reasing a 47-31 deficit with 16:45 to go. Brown scored 11 of his 14 points in the game during the 32-15 run. The teams traded baskets before the Mariners ended the game with a 10-2 run, holding the Cardinals to just a pair of free throws from their final seven possessions. USMMA went a blistering 26-of-29 from the line in the game while making 20 in a row to start the game. Wesleyan was 16-for-26 from the charity stripe, more than accounting for the difference in the final score.
Jason Mendell '12 paced the team with 16 points while Glen Thomas '14 came through with nine rebounds to lead the team on the boards for the fourth straight game and fifth time this season. Derick Beresford '13 and Callaghan each chipped in with 11 points. Brown now averages 19.9 points a game this season, tops in the NESCAC heading into the holiday break.
At Gordon, Brown opened the scoring 19 second in with a jumper and Wesleyan moved out to an early 11-3 advantage. After the Fighting Scots narrowed the gap to 13-11, Wesleyan scored seven quick points, five of them by Dave Fogel '13, for a 20-11 edge at 12:20 and Wesleyan led by no less than eight the rest of the half. The margin was a solid 38-22 at intermission.
A 14-4 run to open the second half, triggered by five points from Callaghan, allowed Wesleyan to double Gordon's score at 52-26 with 15:30 to play. Gordon got as close at 17, 56-39, at the midway point of the period, but the Cardinals responded with a 12-2 burst to push out to a 68-41 lead with 7:05 to go. The gap peaked at 30, 73-43, making it a run of 17-4.
With their five-game win streak, the Cardinals posted the longest stretch of victories by the squad since 2003-04 when the team won eight in a row. Wesleyan has 19 days to prepare for its next contest, the opening round of the Red & Black Classic hosted by Wesleyan Thurs., Dec. 30. The Cardinals take on St. Joseph's (Brooklyn) in game one with Westfield St. and Wheaton doing battle in the second game. Consolation and championship games are slated for Fri., Dec. 31.