Shasha Brown '13 (#11, left side photo) scored eight of his team-high 18 points during overtime to lead Wesleyan to a come-from-behind 80-75 home win over Manhattanville, Tues, Jan. 25, in just the second-ever meeting of the two squads. The only previous meeting took place in Middletown 12 years ago with Wesleyan rolling to a 103-57 win.
Wesleyan survived a 28-2 run by the visitors split between the last five minutes of the first half, when the Valiants erased a 37-23 deficit with a 14-0 run to end the period, and a 14-2 burst to open the second period, giving Manhattanville its largest lead at 51-39 with 14 minutes to go.
But Wesleyan chipped away at the 12-point deficit, finally knotting the count at 66-66 with 1:35 to go in regulation as Otis Poisson '11 hit his fourth three-pointer of the game on a third-chance situation thanks to two offensive rebounds by Matt Hogan '13 (#21, right side photo), who collected a game-high 12 boards. Poisson (14 points) and Hogan (10 points) were two of the six Cardinals, along with Brown, Derick Beresford '13 (10 points), Jason Mendell '12 (12 points) and Mike Callaghan '13 (14 points) to hit for double-digits.
Manhattanville regained the lead, 68-66, with 1:10 left but Wesleyan responded with a pair of Hogan free throws with 1:02 remaining. Neither team scored before the end of regulation.
With Brown and Hogan each contributing four points in the opening 2:17 of overtime, Wesleyan moved out to a 76-71 lead. A pair of Valiant buckets cut the difference to a single point, 76-75, with 1:20 to go. Brown canned a jumper at the :47 mark to give Wesleyan a 78-75 edge. A costly Valiant turnover gave Wesleyan possession, leading to two Brown free throws with :16.2 on the clock, the game’s final points.
Mendell went 6-for-6 at the line for Wesleyan, extended his string of consecutive free throws this season to 39, making him 48-of-52 on the year.
The Cardinals then ventured in to another road NESCAC wekend, starting at Bates Fri., Jan. 28. Brown registered a game-high 23 points but it wasn't enough to ovrcome the homestanding Bobcats, who prevailed, 70-59. Wesleyan lead much of the first half, and by as many as seven 22-15, before a 9-0 Bobcat run to end the period spotted the host a 24-22 lead at intermission.
Bates opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt for a 35-26 advantage and never let Wesleyan get closer than seven over the final 16:36, holding a double-digit lead most of the remaining time. Brown was the only Cardinal to reach double-figures as Mendell and Hogan both added eight. Callaghan paced Wesleyan on the glass with eight rebounds.
Up next was a trip to Tufts to conclude the NESCAC weekend. Brown added 24 points, advances his seasonal average to 18.7 points per game as one of the leaders in the conference. It wasn't enough to overcome a slow start vs. the Jumbos as Wesleyan found itself in a 15-2 hole by the time the game was nine minutes old and the Cardinals never completely recovered. A long-range three-pointer by Beresford just before the halftime buzzer cut the gap to 36-29, but Tufts opened the second stanza with an 11-2 run to move ahead, 47-31, with 14:18 to go. Wesleyan got no closer than 14 the rest of the way while Tufts enjoyed as much as a 25-point bulge (63-38, 8:36 to play).
With three NESCAC contests left on the schedule, the Cardinals will likely need two victories over those matchups to gain a NESCAC tournament spot. The first of the three games comes up Sat., Feb. 5 with a visit to Conn. College. That will be preceded by a road game at Eastern Conn., originally slated for Tues., Feb. 1 but rescheduled for Thurs, Feb. 2 due to weather, in the final non-conference battle. The game will have both livestats and a webcast. Please click < here > for the links.
(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)