Men's Basketball Jumps out to Big Lead at MCLA and Coasts to 99-84 Victory, Then Rolls Past Emmanuel, 88-61, But Falters Against Babson in Hockenbury Classic
Scoring the opening 15 points of the contest and 32 of the first 36 points for a commanding 32-4 advantage with 11:30 remaining in the first half, Wesleyan hardly missed its two starters sidelined for the game as Mike Callaghan '13 (#44, main photo) netted 22 points and BJ Davis '16 (#4, photo insert upper right) established his game with a 19-point effort off the bench as the Cardinals cruised to a 99-84 road win to inaugurate a four-game week. Starters Shasha Brown '13 and Glen Thomas '14 were inactive for the MCLA game. Wesleyan was at home Thurs., Nov. 29 for its next start, taking on Emmanuel, and came away an 88-61 winner.
Wesleyan had three other players in double-digit scoring at MCLA as Julian Harris '14 (#34, photo insert lower right) contributed 16 points to the cause and both Derick Beresford '13 and Avery Robinson '15 added 10 points. During the 32-4 run, Wesleyan was 12-for-15 from the field, including 4-for-4 from three-point range, and added four free throws. The Cardinals finished the half with a 57-31 lead, shooting 59 percent from the floor. Wesleyan cooled down in the second half, hitting just 42.3 percent form the field, but still moved its lead to as many as 34 points, 79-45, with 10 minutes to go. MCLA, which generated a 51-33 margin on the boards, including a 22-9 edge on the offensive glass, trimmed the difference to as little as 14 in the final minute before the final buzzer sounded for a 15-point Cardinal win. Wesleyan is now 2-0 vs. MCLA, having won the first meeting of the teams last year in Washington, D.C., 75-68.
Extending its mastery over Emmanuel to seven wins in eight all-time meetings, Wesleyan had four players reach double-digit scoring again with Harris recording his first career double-double with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Wesleyan took the lead for good, 6-4, on an inside basket by Callaghan (13 points, six rebounds) with 16:12 left in the first half. With the Cardinals holding a slim 14-10 lead at the 10:50 mark, Wesleyan closed out the half on a 27-11 run to assume a commanding 41-21 halftime lead. Both Harris and Beresford had 10 points at intermission. Beresford ended the contest with 12 points. Leading Wesleyan was Brown with 18 points as he returned to action after missing just one game.
Opening the second half on a 9-0 run, Wesleyan enjoyed a 23-2 margin over a 5:30 span nearly equally divided between the first and second half as the score stood 27-19 with three minutes remaining in the opening period and was 50-21 with 17:30 showing on the second-half clock.
The lead grew as large as 33 in the second half (68-35 with 11:26 to go) and never fell below 25 the rest of the way.
Up next for Wesleyan was a trip to Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. for the opening round of the Hockenbury Classic Sat., Dec. 1. Wesleyan took on Babson in a first-round matchup with Norwich facing Mitchell in the other first-round game. Babson and Norwich came away winners, pitting Wesleyan and Mitchell in the consolation game Sun., Dec. 2.
Against Babson, the Cardinals led for only 30 seconds early in the contest, then played catchup the bulk of the contest. Wesleyan trailed by as many as 12 in the opening period and narrowed the difference to three, 40-37, with 15:28 to play. But the rally stalled and the Beavers edged away. Wesleyan trailed by five with just under four minutes to go when Babson used a 7-0 run to lock up the game with a 59-47 lead with 1:36 on the clock. The final score read 70-61 as the teams combined for an amazing 25 points in the closing minute and a half. Callaghan led the Cardinals with 20 points while Beresford added 11. Brown had five of the team's nine assists.