In a game devoid of double-digit leads, Wesleyan held the game's largest advantage with 8:46 to play, 63-54, but couldn't make it hold up as homestanding Colby rallied to capture a 75-69 victory in the opening NESCAC matchup for both teams Fri., Jan. 10. Up next for the Cardinals was an excursion to Bowdoin Sat., Jan. 11 to wrap up the NESCAC weekend. There Wesleyan tried to recover from as much as a 19-point deficit but lost 63-54.
The Mules led much of the first half by a narrow margin before the Cardinals grabbed their first lead with 5:08 left before intermission on a layup by BJ Davis '16, giving the visitors a 26-24 edge. Colby went on to assume a 37-36 lead at halftime. Colby then held the advantage most of the opening eight minutes of the second half before a three-pointer by Jack Mackey '16 with 11:54 to go put Wesleyan ahead, 55-53. That ignited an 11-1 burst that spotted Wesleyan its largest margin at 63-54. A pair of three-pointers by Joe Edmonds '16 (#32, photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) were the catalysts that helped the Cardinals forge its advantage. But the well ran dry and Colby responded with a 17-6 run of its own over the next seven minutes to take the lead for good on a three-pointer, 71-69, then score the game's final four points for the six-point win. The Cardinals missed their last three shots after falling behind.
Edmonds finished the outing with a game-best 21 points, going 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Wesleyan made 13 treys in the contest, two shy of the school record. The Cardinals made just two trip to the line, going 2-for-4, while Colby went 16-for-19 at the line. Only two of Colby's made free throws came after Wesleyan had fallen behind late in the contest as the Cardinals were whistled for 17 fouls and Colby just eight. Rebounds and turnovers were just about even in the affair.
At Bowdoin, the Polar Bears led from start to finish, scoring the game's opening eight points and pulling out to a substantial 34-17 lead at halftime. The difference remained in the teens much of the second half, peaking at 19, 46-27, with 12:17 to play. Over the next 4:36, Wesleyan went on its strongest run of the game, outscoring its host, 13-2, to whittle the margin to eight, 48-40. Brian Bartner '16 scored all eight of his points during the stretch with a pair of treys to his credit. But Bowdoin kept the margin between eight and 10 points into the final 2:09 and though Wesleyan trailed by only six, 60-54, with :26 to go, Bowdoin added three free throws and Wesleyan missed its last two three-point tries for the final score. Harry Rafferty '17 had a team-high 13 points while Edmonds added 11.
The Cardinals were at home Tues., Jan. 14, hosting Little Three foe Amherst in a non-conference matchup. Amherst used an 12-2 run late in the first half to turn a 19-18 deficit into a 30-21 lead and Amherst, ranked sixth in the latest d3hoops.com national poll, let Wesleyan get no closer than six points the rest of the way en route to a 76-62 win. Amherst, with a nine-point win over Williams three days earlier, now stands 2-0 in the Little Three with one game left against Wesleyan and Williams. Williams is 1-1 and Wesleyan 0-2.
Though Wesleyan jumped out to an early 8-2 advantage, the Lord Jeffs came back to knot the score at 12-12, then take an 18-14 lead before a 5-0 Cardinal burst gave Wesleyan its final lead at 19-18 with 7:45 remaining in the first half. A pair of free throws gave Amherst the lead for good, 20-19, at 6:56, triggering the 12-2 spurt that secured an 11-point bulge. Amherst settled for a 39-32 margin at intermission.
Amherst held between an eight- and 16-point lead throughout the second period, with the gap maxing at 69-53 with 2:43 left.
Wesleyan got 14 points from Edmonds and 12 from Bartner. Glen Thomas '14 tied for game-high honors with 10 caroms on the night along with eight points and three assists. The Lord Jeffs generated a 43-29 edge on the glass in the contest.
Wesleyan's next game is a home NESCAC affair with Middlebury Fri., Jan. 17. The game will be webcast.