Coming off his all-tournament performance at the Hockenbury Classic at Norwich, where Wesleyan finished as the runner-up, Shasha Brown '13 (#5, right in photo) netted 21 points including four key free throws in the closing 1:30, to help the Cardinals hold off visiting Roger Williams, 63-61, Tues., Dec. 8.
While Brown was keeping within a point or two of his lofty 22.8 seasonal scoring average against Roger Williams, Mike Callaghan '13 (#44, left side of photo) had a career day by shooting 7-for-12 from the field on his way to 17 points along with a game-high 12 rebounds despite spending most of the game facing a Hawk who stood 6-9 vs. Callaghan's 6-5 frame. Callaghan came into the contest averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds.
When Derick Beresford '13 hit a three-pointer with 5:25 to play, it gave Wesleyan its largest lead of the second half at 56-49. RWU scored nine of the next 10 points for a 58-57 lead with 1:41 to go. Brown then hit his first pair of free throws at 1:30 to give Wesleyan back the lead. His two from the line at :51.5 gave the cards a 61-59 cushion. A Hawk turnover and steal by Jason Mendell '12 put him at the line with just :16 to go and he calmly sank two from the charity stripe for the 63-59 lead. RWU added a layup with :04 showing. Wesleyan got the ball in to Brown, who eluded several RWU defenders to run out the clock.
Mendell finished the game with 10 points to aid the Cardinal cause. Wesleyan led by as many as 10 in the first half (16-6) before RWU found its stride and took a 27-26 lead at halftime. Neither team led by more than five points in the second half before Beresford stretched the Cardinal advantage to seven.
Wesleyan and RWU have met each of the last four seasons with each winning twice on its home court.
The last game of the semester came up Sat., Dec. 12 at the Merchant Marine Academy. After the teams headed into the second half even at 26, USMMA used a 26-10 start to the second period to seize a 52-36 lead and hold on for a 70-56 decision.
Wesleyan narrowed the margin to 54-47 with just under five minutes remaining and had a possession while trailing by seven, but couldn't get any closer. A 16-9 finish by the host closed out the triumph.
Shasha Brown kept his streak of double-figure scoring intact with 11 points, despite an off-day from the field, held to just 2-of-15 field-goal shooting. He did hit seven of 10 free throws. Greg St. Jean '13 paced the team with 12 points while Dave Maltz '11 collected a team-high 10 rebounds.
Wesleyan will go the next three weeks with a contest, resuming game mode Sat., Jan. 2 in the first round of the Naismith Classic at Springfield College, facing SUNY-Purchase.