Scoring the game's first eight points and never looking back, the Cardinals held as much as a 18-point margin in the first half before settling for a comfortable 33-17 lead at halftime of its NESCAC affair at Conn. College Sat., Jan. 26. The lead never fell below 13 and grew as large as 33 in the second period as the Cardinals cruised to a 71-41 victory to keep the team's hopes of a home NESCAC tournament game alive. With a 3-4 conference mark and three games remaining, wins against Hamilton, Colby and Bowdoin to end the year and a faltering by Tufts would give Wesleyan the fourth seed. Before that, however, Wesleyan played its first home game in more than three weeks Mon., Jan. 28 against the Merchant Marine Academy. Wesleyan came through with a 76-65 win in that affair.
With both Derick Beresford '13 (#3, left side photo) and Shasha Brown '13 (#11, right side photo) chasing milestones, the two combined for 37 points at Conn with Beresford netting 19 and Brown 18. Beresford stood just 24 points shy of 1,000 for his career while Brown needed only 51 points to become Wesleyan's all-time leading scorer as he upped his total to 1,642 in his career.
Brown was a machine in the first half, scoring 16 of his 18 points to lead the charge on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Conversely, Beresford was a second-half demon, as he poured in 16 of his 19 points over the final 20 minutes. With a 41-28 edge on the boards, Wesleyan was balance on the glass as Beresford and Glen Thomas '14 led the way with seven apiece. Mike Callaghan '13 chipped in with nine points while Rashid Epps '16 added eight.
Against USMMA, the Cardinals tralied 42-39 with 17:20 left in the second half, but scored on 11 of its next 12 possessions while holding USMMA to four baskets on its next 11 tries from the field en route to a 26-8 run that put the Cardinals ahead 65-50 with 9:00 to play. The lead never fell below double digits down the stretch as Wesleyan got the 11-point triumph. Wesleyan now leads the tight series with the Mariners, 7-5, having won the last two meetings after USMMA had won four straight.
Though Wesleyan jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, the Mariners settled in and tied the count at 14-14, then took their first lead at 18-16 on a three-pointer at the 10:48 mark of the first half. Wesleyan went on a 16-9 run to forge a 32-27 lead and after the Mariners tied it at 36-36, took a 39-36 halftime lead on a three-pointer by Beresford. Beresford led the Cardinals in scoring on the day with 21 points, leaving him three points shy of 1,000 in his career.
Brown added 19 points to improve his career scoring mark to 1,661, needing just 32 points to become the all-time scoring leader at Wesleyan. Thomas chipped in with seven points and a team-high nine rebound for the Cardinals while both Callaghan and Brian Bartner '16 added nine points.
While Beresford and Brown came through with 40 points, they also combined to make seven of 16 three-point attempts, dish out nine assists and make three steals.
Ahead for Wesleyan is another non-conference matchup Wed., Jan. 30 at Eastern Connecticut before finishing with three NESCAC games.