In the opening NESCAC game of the year for both squads, Wesleyan broke a 55-55 tie with 2:08 to play on a free throw by Derick Beresford '13 (#3, right side photo), starting a 9-0 Cardinal run to the final buzzer as Wesleyan defeated visiting Trinity Fri., Jan. 14, 64-55. Beresford, who led Wesleyan with 16 points and added eight rebounds, canned four free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the win.
Down the stretch, Trinity went 0-for-5 from the field and committed one turnover while Wesleyan got a pair of driving baskets from Shasha Brown '13, one with 1:16 to go and another with :23 left, pushing the Wesleyan lead to 60-55. Brown ended the game with 10 points.
Trinity had led throughout the first half, though Wesleyan came back to tie on several occasions but never led. The Bantams led 9-3 early and equaled their largest lead with a 29-23 edge just before halftime, which brought about a 29-25 Bantam lead.
Wesleyan took its first lead of the game, 34-33, on a Brown free throw with 15:06 remaining That erased a 33-29 Bantam advantage and was part of an 11-2 Wesleyan run, resulting in a 40-35 Cardinal margin. It was Wesleyan largest lead until the final :30. Trinity came back to take a 42-40 and held its last lead, 51-50, with 4:51 left. Wesleyan then scored five straight, capped by a traditional three-point play by Mike Callaghan '13 (#44, left side photo), for a 55-51 Wesleyan lead with 3:21 on the clock. Four Bantam points evened the count at 55-55 with 2:26 remaining. Callaghan finished the contest with 15 points.
Wesleyan also got 10 points from Jason Mendell '12 and a game-high 10 rebounds from Glen Thomas '14 as the Cardinals forged a 46-24 margin on the boards. That was countered by a 22-11 turnover margin that favored the Bantams.
Wesleyan finished its opening NESCAC weekend by hosting Little Three rival Amherst Sat, Jan. 15 in a rematch of a game played in Amherst 10 days earlier, won by the Lord Jeffs, ranked 10th nationally, 87-74. The rematch went to the Lord Jeffs as well, 77-61. The Cardinals, with 16 points and eight boards from Beresford for a stellar weekend's work, cut into an early Amherst lead. The Jeffs held a 32-19 first-half lead but Wesleyan narrowed the difference to three, 35-32, :25 before halftime, which then favored Amherst, 37-32.
After Amherst again pushed ahead by double-digits early in the second period, 48-38, Wesleyan got as close as 52-47, with 9:50 to go before a decisive 11-0 Amherst run made it 63-47 and the Cards got no closer than 12 the rest of the way. Joining Beresford with solid numbers was Callaghan with 15 points and five boards while Brown came up with 12 points.
Up next for the squad is a trip to Middlebury Fri., Jan. 21 to inaugurate the second NESCAC weekend, followed by a visit to Williams Sat., Jan. 22. Both the Panthers and Ephs are national top-10 squads.
(photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)