Getting balanced scoring, including 10 points from tournament MVP Rashid Epps '16 (right side in photo) and 11 points from all-tournament team choice BJ Davis '16 (left side in photo), Wesleyan broke a 14-14 tie with 14:03 to go in the first half on a three-pointer by Harry Rafferty '17 (team-high 14 points) and never looked back en route to a 75-64 win over host UMass Boston to take the title in the 29th annual Harbor Invitational Sat., Nov. 30. Wesleyan had taken the Harbor Invite title exactly 12 years ago to the day with a 78-71 victory over UMB, the last time the Cardinals took part in the proceedings.
After going ahead 17-14, Wesleyan used the trey as impetus to finish the half on a 33-17 run, taking a 47-31 lead into the locker room at intermission. The Cardinals shot 46 percent in the opening 20 minutes and went 6-for-12 on three-pointers to open up the 16-point bulge. The lead grew as large as 19 in the opening minute of the second half when Joe Edmonds '16 (10 points) converted a conventional three-point play for a 50-31 margin. The ead stayed in double-digits until UMB made a three-point play with 6:55 remaining, making it a 63-54 game. The Beacons got as close as six, the last time at 68-62 with 2:55 on the clock. Wesleyan regained control when Rafferty scored the next four points, the last two at the line, where he went 7-for-8 on the day, with 1:03 to go for a 72-62 lead. A free throw by Davis and another pair from Rafferty closed out the Cardinals' scoring in the final minute.
Wesleyan held a 40-33 edge on the glass, led by Glen Thomas '14 with seven rebounds, and had 12 steals in the game, with Rafferty leading the way with four. He also had three assists. To see a highlight video of the championship contest, provided by UMB sports information, please click < here >.
Wesleyan played its final game before the end of the first semester, that at home Thurs., Dec. 5 against Westfield St. The Cardinals found themselves in an early 18-8 hole that grew as large as 25-13 during the first half. But a strong 17-7 run over the opening 12:17 of the second period helped Wesleyan erase a 27-18 halftime deficit and take its first and only lead of the game, 35-34, with 7:43 left on a pair of Davis free throws. But Westfield tied the game and took the lead for good on a three-point play with 6:30 left, 38-35, and never gave up the lead the rest of the way en route to a 54-46 win. It was the first victory by the Owls over the Cardinals in seven all-time meetings.
Wesleyan got the sixth double-double of the year in eight games this season from Epps as he picked up 11 points along with a game-high 15 caroms. Thomas led Wesleyan with 13 points while Edmonds added 10. Both had eight rebounds as well.
Wesleyan inaugurates second-semester play at home Mon., Dec. 30, taking on Curry.
(photo courtesy of UMB sports information)