Defeating Bowdoin Fri., Feb. 10, 74-61, behind the monstrous double-double of Mike Callaghan '13 (#44, right side photo), who had 25 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, along with 20 points from Derick Beresford '13 (#3, left side photo), Wesleyan secured the #3 seed in the upcoming NESCAC tournament and will host a first-round game Sat., Feb. 18 against Bowdoin, the #6 seed. Ending the regular season with a 76-70 victory at Colby Sat., Feb. 11 to snag a pair of NESCAC wins in Maine, the Cardinals eclipsed the school mark for wins in a season with their current 19-5 record. The 1990-91 Cardinals finished 18-6 in establishing the previous school record for wins in a season. Callaghan, who averaged 20 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists over the weekend, was honored by the NESCAC as Player of the Week while also finding a spot on the D3hoops.com Team of the Week.
Wesleyan became just the second team in NESCAC men's basketball history to go from failing to make the playoff field the previous year to a home berth in the tournament the next. The only other squad to do so was Middlebury, which finished ninth in the standings in 2005-06, then earned the #4 seed in 2006-07. Wesleyan has risen even one step above that, moving from #9 to #3 in a year's time. Watch a video detailing the accomplishments of the 2011-12 Cardinals ....
At Bowdoin, Wesleyan got off to an outstanding start will a powerful 28-14 margin through 11:06 of the first half after holding a slim 11-9 edge the opening 5:48 of play. The 17-5 run was triggered by Beresford, who netted 11 of his 20 points in the 5:18 span with four baskets, three of them treys, as he finished the contest with six three-pointers on 10 attempts. Wesleyan settled for a 38-30 lead at halftime.
Bowdoin came out storming to begin the second half, scoring seven straight to narrow the gap to a single point, 38-37. Wesleyan regained its edge and pushed ahead by double-digits behind a three-pointer by Beresford with 9:57 to play, 55-43, thus completing a 17-6 run over a nine-minute span. Callaghan and Beresford combined for 11 of the 17 points. From that point, the lead never fell below eight points as the Cardinals avenged a 72-71 home setback to the Polar Bears on the final game of the season in 2010-11 which kept Wesleyan from making the playoffs.
Shasha Brown '13 chipped in with 10 points and six assists to aid the Cardinal cause while Glen Thomas '14 had 10 boards, helping Wesleyan to a substantial 48-30 margin on the glass.
At Colby, Wesleyan recovered from a sluggish start, trailing 13-2 after just 6:05 and still down 20-10 with nine minutes to go in the half. But a 20-11 Wesleyan run to close out the period narrowed the margin to 31-30 at halftime, and Wesleyan grabbed the lead for good, 34-33, on a pair of Thomas free throws 1:18 into the second half. The lead hit 10 on a Callaghan jumper with 13:50 to go and stayed in the 7-15 range until the closing three minutes when the Mules got as close as four, 74-70, with :12 left. Two Brown free throws ended the day's scoring.
Wesleyan had five players with double-digit scoring, led by Brown with 16. Callaghan added 15 and a eight rebounds, matching Thomas for team-high honors on the boards. Beresford and Julian Harris '14 added 12 points and Mendell chipped in with 11. The Cardinals connected on eight of 16 three-point attempts in the contest with Beresford, Brown and Mendell each hitting a pair.