On Wednesday, Dec. 5, the men’s basketball team traveled to Westfield, Mass. to take on the undefeated Westfield State University Owls. The Cardinals proved to be the better birds as they defeated the Owls 70-59, which improved to 6-3 on the season. The win came at a critical time for the Cardinals, as there are only two non-conference contests remaining in the season before NESCAC play begins in January.
It looked like Westfield State might run away with this one early on, as a 14-4 run put the Cardinals behind 20-10 less than seven minutes into the game. Efficient shooting largely fueled that offensive outburst, as Westfield hit 14 of its 24 attempts from the field. On the other hand, much of Wesleyan’s offense came simply by virtue of getting shots up; the Cardinals took 14 more attempts than the Owls in the first half, more than making up for their disappointing .365 field goal percentage. That shooting barrage allowed Wesleyan to claw its way back into contention with 1:44 remaining, Mike Callaghan ’13 found BJ Davis ’16 for a three-pointer. This cut the deficit to two, and the Cardinals went into halftime only down 34-32.
Wesleyan captured the lead for good at the 15:16 mark of the second half, as Avery Robinson ’15 sunk one of his three buckets from downtown to give the Cardinals a 39-37 lead. That was the beginning of a 10-0 run for Wesleyan, as Rashid Epps ’16, Derick Beresford ’13, and Shasha Brown ’13 all scored to put the Cardinals up by nine. Westfield State cut it to four with 6:18 remaining, but Wesleyan did not let up and pulled away again. Brown scored seven of the Cardinals’ points during a 10-2 stretch that put them up 63-51 with just over two minutes on the clock. The outcome was essentially decided at this point, and the final seconds were merely a formality as Wesleyan turned a first-half hole into a cushiony 70-59 victory.
Despite the Cardinals’ collective poor shooting against Westfield, Brown went 6-12 from the field to lead all scorers with 23 points. Epps also put together a very efficient game, registering his second consecutive double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 15 minutes of play. Robinson and Beresford also scored in double figures, with 11 points and 10 points respectively. Meanwhile, Glen Thomas ’14 tied Epps for the team lead with 10 boards of his own.
Wesleyan will be back in play on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Curry College as the Cardinals look to improve upon their 6-3 record. After some time off, men’s basketball will return to action on Sunday, Dec. 30 at Cabrini College for the last non-conference game before NESCAC play begins.