Cards Outlast Tufts in 4 OTs, 98-93, to Pick up Initial NESCAC Win Behind 30 from Shasha Brown '13
In a four-overtime marathon at home Fri., Jan. 29, Wesleyan went ahead of Tufts for good in the fourth extra frame when Greg St. Jean '13 connected for a three-pointer in the opening minute giving the Cardinals an 88-87 lead. Wesleyan widened the gap to 94-90 when Dave Fogel '13 (#31, left side of photo) put home a banker with 2:07 left. Tufts drew within one after a free throw and a basket with :30 left. After Fogel, who picked up 18 points in the contest, sank a pair at the line with :20 left, Tufts attempt to tie with a three-pointer missed the mark. Wesleyan appeared to get the rebound but was called for traveling, giving the Jumbos another chance. Again, a three-pointer by Tufts failed to connect and St. Jean cleared the board, was fouled, and made two more at the line for the final margin of 98-93 with less than a second remaining.
Wesleyan was led by Shasha Brown '13 (#5, right side of photo) with 30 points, but he missed the final overtime due to cramps. While Tufts had three players with a double-double, St. Jean had the lone double-double for the Cardinals with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Mendell '12 also hit double-digits in the scoring department with 15 for Wesleyan.
Wesleyan had the final shot in regulation with the score tied, and had the same game-winning opportunity in each of the first two overtimes, only to come up short each time. Tufts had the final attempt in the third OT but also came away empty.
Wesleyan enjoyed the game's largest lead in the first half at 32-18 with seven minutes to go before intermission. Tufts recovered and took its first lead since holding a 4-2 edge in the opening moments with a trey with 8:58 left in regulation to give the Jumbos a 54-51 lead. Tufts extended its advantage to 63-58 with 4:20 left. Wesleyan took a 64-63 lead and Tufts tied it with 2:13 left on a free throw. There was no further scoring in regulation though Wesleyan took the final five shots of the period on the same possession.
Wesleyan led 71-67 in the first OT but Tufts came back to tie with :21 to go. Tufts built a 78-73 lead the he second OT only to have Wesleyan come back to tie at 78-78 on a Brown three-pointer with :58 to go. Each team missed its last attempt of the frame. The third OT belonged to Wesleyan early with an 84-80 margin. Again Tufts responded and went ahead 85-84 with :50 to go. The Cardinals got a free throw from Fogel to tie with :36, but he missed the second. Tufts' final shot missed, moving the teams into a fourth extra period.
Wesleyan had a shorter game when it closed out its NESCAC weekend by hosting Bates Sat., Jan. 30. In this situation, the Cardinals might have preferred a little extra time as the team rallied from a 15-point deficit with six minutes remaining to climb within four at 69-65 with 1:23 left behind a 13-2 run. Wesleyan had three attempts to cut the margin even more, but missed the mark and the Bobcats converted five free throws in the final 37 seconds to seal a 74-69 victory.
Bates led the game from start to finish with leads ranging from 16 points in the second half (56-40) to just two points (26-24) in the first period. Wesleyan got 18 points from Mendell to lead the team. Mike Callaghan '13 added 13 and Derick Beresford '13 chipped in with 10. St. Jean had seven points, five boards and five assists.
Wesleyan was back on the court Tues, Feb. 2 hosting in-state but non-conference foe Eastern Connecticut. Again, Brown was the catalyst for a win as he scored a team-high 13 points and gave Wesleyan the lead for good with 3:40 to play, helping the Cardinals post a 67-64 victory.
Brown scored down low off a feed from St. Jean, who had six assists, to spot the Cards a 57-55 lead. The margin grew to 61-55 behind two Dave Maltz '11 (10 points) inside baskets but Eastern got back to within one at 63-62 in the final minute. A fast-break basket by Mendell (10 points) and a pair of critical free throws by Callaghan with :17.7 left kept the Cardinals ahead. Eastern tried for the tie in the closing seconds but missed with a three-point try and another two-point attempt as Mendell grabbed the final rebound to clinch the triumph.
Wesleyan closes out the home season Sat., Feb. 6 against Conn. College in a game slated for a webcast. A link to watch the contest is available on the athletics hoe page under "Webcasts."
(Photos courtesy of SteveMcLaughlinPhotography,com)