Men’s Basketball Extends Win Streak
Men’s basketball is now surging following a slow start to the season, with consecutive victories at Silloway Gymnasium over Albertus Magnus College and City College of New York. After stumbling out of the gate to a 1-3 record, the Cardinal men have capitalized on their potential and now find themselves back over the .500 at 4-3.
After scoring on the first two possessions of the game, the Cardinals succumbed to a strong Albertus Magnus team, whose 39-31 halftime lead was spearheaded by its early 12-0 scoring run. However, the team pulled together in the second half, where an eleven-point deficit was slowly whittled down to a 50-50 tie in the first eight minutes of the half. Behind the 29-point outburst of guard Shasha Brown ’13, the Cardinals matched Albertus Magnus shot for shot down the stretch before pulling away for a 75-70 victory.
“They were a good team, a lot of talent,” said co-captain Jason Mendell ’12, who contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds at forward. “They really took it to us in the first half. But we came together and really played a lot of defense in the second half, and that won the game for us. We know we have enough talent to put the ball in the basket, but we had five guys working together out there on defense, trying to get a stop, and that’s what wins basketball games.”
Wesleyan proved to be the superior team in its handling of the City College of New York. The Cardinals opened the game with a 25-5 run that took 8:32 off the game clock, putting CCNY in a nearly insurmountable hole. The visitors made an admirable effort, battling back to cut the lead to just 43-35, but the Cardinal men would not be denied, extending their lead throughout the second half for a dominant 79-59 win. Brown once again led the team in scoring with 21, while forward Mike Callaghan ’13 added on 17 points and 8 rebounds.
“We’re focusing better on every possession, knowing that at any point in the game, if you’re not coming with 100 percent energy and communication, you’ll get burned,” Mendell said. “If you’re not giving it your all at every point in the game, at the end you say things like, ‘Oh, this guy didn’t make a play,’ but really, the two points you lose at the end are the same as the two you lose at the beginning. That’s the mentality we’re trying to bring out, and we’re all buying into the same philosophy.”
The men’s team was bolstered against CCNY by the return of guard Dave Fogel ’13. Fogel, who had been out for the past two months with a herniated disc sustained during off-season weight training, only saw the court for seven minutes off the bench, as coach Joe Reilly is slowly working Fogel back into the lineup. Once he gets back up to game speed, he should provide valuable depth for a Cardinals team that seems to be getting into a groove already.
The Cardinals will face three more tough games before going on winter break, going away to Roger Williams and Gordon College before hosting the US Merchant Marine Academy on Dec. 11 at Silloway Gymnasium. Both Gordon and Merchant Marine were qualifiers for the 2010 Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.
“We have to go out and play our best every game,” said Mendell, “and that’s really how Coach Reilly made our schedule, so that we have no cupcake games. Every time, if you’re not bringing it, you’re