With under five minutes to play, Shasha Brown ’13 knocked down a free throw for his 13th point against Hamilton. This is a seemingly innocuous statistic, but when combined with his full career as a Cardinal, Brown had just gained sole possession of the Wesleyan men’s basketball all-time scoring title. In a bittersweet turn, however, the Cardinals (11-11 overall, 3-5 NESCAC) could not reward Brown’s stellar efforts on that day with a victory.
Hamilton (12-10 overall, 3-5 NESCAC) came into the contest one game behind Wesleyan in the conference standings. The game will likely play a crucial tiebreaking role for playoff seeding; by virtue of this win, Hamilton now has the tiebreaker over Wesleyan.
The first half of the game had a few momentum swings, with Hamilton leading by as much as eight, while Wes never led by more than two. Hamilton held its lead going into the half, up 30-27 after the first 20 minutes. The second half progressed in a similar fashion, with relatively even play while Hamilton capitalized on just enough plays to make a minimal difference in scoring. Though Wesleyan tied the game on a Rashid Epps ’16 jumper with 11 minutes to play, the Cardinals never held a second-half lead. Hamilton pulled ahead, and Wesleyan could not claw back despite its best efforts. Eventually the game ended with a score of 62-57, sending the Cardinals home dispirited.
Familiar faces led the Cards on offense. Brown had a team-high 17 points, while fellow captain and guard Derick Beresford ’13 also scored in double digits with 11. Brown also led the game with four assists. Captain and big man Mike Callaghan ’13 pulled in 11 boards to offset his unusually low scoring output of seven points. Epps also played well on the boards, contributing six rebounds himself while matching Callaghan’s total of seven points.
The Cardinals now find themselves in a deadlock on the lower half of the NESCAC playoff seedings. With two games to play, Wesleyan is tied for fifth in the conference, but is just a half-game ahead of the eighth seed. These final games may make the difference between a deep run in the playoffs or an early exit. The Cardinals return to action on Friday, Feb. 8 by hosting fifth-seeded Bowdoin, and they continue play the next day against lowly Colby.