Visiting Curry overcame a 45-32 second-half deficit to claim an 80-76 road victory over Wesleyan in the Cardinals' opening game after the break Mon., Dec. 30. It was just the third meeting of the teams and the first time the home team did not prevail as each squad had a win on its own court previously. Ahead for Wesleyan was the opening round of the Naismith Classic at Springfield College Fri., Jan. 3, facing Bridgewater St. The Cardinals came out on the short end of a 75-65 count and will face Lyndon St. in the consolation game Sat., Jan. 4.
Wesleyan got the seventh double-double of the season in nine games from Rashid Epps '16 (#00, left side photo) as he had 13 points and a game-best 15 rebounds. While Wesleyan enjoyed a 48-34 edge on the glass, Curry committed just five turnovers in the game, none in the second half, while Wesleyan had 15 miscues in the contest. Wesleyan got a team-high 20 points from Harry Rafferty '17 (#22, right side photo). Joe Edmonds '16 added 15 points.
Both teams had substantial runs in the first half as Wesleyan opened the game with a 9-2 burst before a 10-0 run by the Colonels help Curry claim a 17-14 lead. Wesleyan generated a 14-0 run to turn a 27-23 deficit into a 37-27 lead before holding a 38-29 edge at intermission. A 7-3 run to begin the second period spotted Wesleyan a 45-32 edge. Curry closed to within four at 45-41 but Wesleyan kept the lead until a Curry free throw tied the game at 63-63 with 4:08 left. Wesleyan got its last lead, 66-63, on a trey by Joe Edmonds '16, but Curry responded with a three-pointer of its own to knot the score at 66-66 with 3:26 on the clock. That started a decisive 10-0 burst for the Colonels for a 73-66 lead with 1:09 to go. As a team, Curry went 9-for-10 at the line in the final 1:09.
Against Bridgewater St., the Cardinals got off to a brisk 8-0 start but the Bears netted the next 10 points and never trailed thereafter, holding as much as a 10-point lead in the opening period before taking a 36-27 lead into the locker room at halftime. Wesleyan began the second half on an 11-4 run to narrow the gap to 40-38 with 14:34 left, but Bridgewater responded with 11 of the next 13 points for a 51-40 margin at the 10:52 mark. The Cardinals again produced a run and made it a 55-52 game with 6:20 to go but that was as close as Wesleyan would get as five quick Bear points over the next 1:06 made it 60-52 and Wesleyan got no closer than seven in the final five minutes. Epps has 12 points and 13 rebounds to push his double-double mark to eight in the first 10 games, becoming the first Cardinal since Leo Jones '01 to perform that feat as Jones had 18 double-doubles in 26 games his senior year as a first-team all-NESCAC choice and currently the third-ranked scorer in Wesleyan history. Rafferty again paced the team in scoring with 19 points while Edmonds had 15.
(photos by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)