Cardinals Have Chance to Win in Regulation and 1st OT but Come up Short vs. Middlebury, 77-75, Then Fall at Baruch, 78-64
With the final opportunity both at the end of regulation and the first overtime, Wesleyan could not convert on a possible game-winning basket and went on to fall short vs. Middlebury in NESCAC action Fri., Jan. 17, dropping a 77-75 double-overtime tilt. Wesleyan traveled to Baruch Sun., Jan. 19 for its next game and came away on the down side of a 78-64 final.
Wesleyan's Joe Edmonds '16 (#32, left side photo) took game scoring honors vs. Middlebury with 22 points and game-high rebounding laurels with nine. Both Rashid Epps '16 and Harry Rafferty '17 (#22, right side photo) added eight boards as Wesleyan had a 47-31 edge on the glass. Rafferty also had 17 points as he and Edmonds combined to go an impressive 23-of-24 at the line, leading to Wesleyan's team 26-for-30 figure.
In the second overtime, Middlebury jumped ahead, 74-69 before Wesleyan scored the next four points on a pair of Rafferty free throws and a layup from Bryan Galvin '15 with :23 left. The Panthers then converted just one of two at the line with :21.3 left to make it 75-73. Wesleyan tied the game on an inside jumper by Epps with :11 to go. An inadvertent foul with :08.7 to go put the Panthers back at the line and they put home both for the final margin. Wesleyan had a drive by BJ Davis '16 at the end of the period come up short and Middlebury grabbed the final board to end the game.
With Wesleyan ahead 67-64 in the late stages of the first overtime, Middlebury hit a 22-footer from straight away with :19.5 to go to tie the game. Wesleyan missed a final shot with :01.2 left as the game went into a second extra period. Before that, the Panthers hit a basket with 2:38 left in regulation to narrow Wesleyan's lead at the time to 55-52 before a trey at the 2:10 mark accounted for the final points of the period. Wesleyan missed twice on its next possession, the Panthers missed a trey, Wesleyan lost the ball, Middlebury missed another three-pointer and the Cardinals had two chances in the closing seconds but came up empty.
Wesleyan largest lead in the game came early in the second half, 38-32, after Middlebury had held its largest margin, 25-18, with 3:00 to go before intermission. It was a 20-7 Cardinal burst that helped Wesleyan hold the lead from the opening bucket of the second half, breaking a 29-29 tie at intermission, until the Panthers tied game on their last basket of regulation.
At Baruch, Wesleyan trailed by a scant 28-26 margin at halftime but the Bearcats did little wrong in the second half, shooting nearly 60 percent from the field and 90 percent at the line (17-19) to pull away from the Cardinals. Wesleyan hit just 36 percent of its second-half attempts. Still, the Cardinals were within range at the midway point of the second half, down just 40-35 after a pair of Edmonds free throws, but a quick 11-2 Baruch run made it a 51-37 contest with 9:02 remaining and Wesleyan got no closer than 12 the rest of the way. Baruch led by as many as 19 before the contest concluded.
Epps, with 13 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, posted his ninth double-double of the season. The Cardinals had five players reach double-digit scoring as Galvin netted 12, Edmonds finished with 11 and both Rafferty and Davis added 10.
Next up for the team is a home game with NESCAC rival Conn. College Sat., Jan. 25. The game will be webcast and feature LiveStats.
(photos by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)