Scoring five of his 20 points at Middlebury in the final eight seconds to force the game against the undefeated and third-ranked nationally Panthers into overtime, Shasha Brown '13 (#11, main photo) moved a step closer to becoming Wesleyan's all-time leading scorer as he passed Leo Jones '02 into second place on the leader list. Now with 1,557 career points, Brown needs 136 points to claim the top spot as Kanem Johnson '04 holds the record with 1,692 points.
After jumping out to a 17-8 lead at Middlebury Sat., Jan. 12, Wesleyan eventually found itself in as much as a 13-point hole, that coming with 5:55 to play as the Panthers held a 58-45 lead. But Wesleyan rallied for 24 points over the final 5:55 while holding the Panthers to 11. Brown led the way with 12 of the 24 points as the Cardinals went 7-for-7 down the stretch and 7-for-8 at the line. But that one missed shot from the line by Brown with :03 to go was the key to tying the game as Wesleyan trailed by two at the time. Brown tossed a low-trajectory shot from the line and got the result he wanted as the ball hit hard on the front rim and caromed deep in the lane. Brown tracked down the rebound, drove the right side and canned the tying layup at the buzzer, making it 69-69.
Wesleyan then led by three to start overtime as Mike Callaghan '13 (#44, photo insert upper left) converted a three-point play on his way to a game-high 21 points. Middlebury countered with the next seven points to assume a 76-72 margin with 2:21 left. Wesleyan cut it to one point twice, the final time coming with :56 left on a Brown layup. When Brown rebounded a missed trey with :27 left, Wesleyan had a chance for the win, trailing, 78-77. After a timeout, Middlebury concentrated on Brown and a good defensive thrust by the Panthers as Brown dribbled left helped Brown lose his footing and slip. By the time he righted himself, time was nearly out and the defense was upon him. Still he managed a 20-footer that hit the rectangle as the horn sounded, but bounded off the rim to give Middlebury the win. In addition to his 20 points, Brown also had five assists and two steals. Glen Thomas '14 (#23, photo insert lower left) had a game-high 10 rebounds.
The day before, Wesleyan did little wrong over the opening 12 minutes at Williams, making 10 of 15 shots, including 5-for-6 on three-pointers, en route to a 30-13 lead over the Ephs, ranked 18th nationally. But Wesleyan suffered a dry spell over the last eight minites of the period as the Ephs rattled off 22 straight points into halftime for a 35-30 lead. When Williams hit a three-pointer to start the second half, the streak reached 25 points and the lead, eight. Wesleyan came back tio tie, 50-50, and take its last lead on a Thomas basket with 9:42 to play. An 8-0 Eph run spotted the host a 58-52 lead with 6:29 on the clock. Williams countered every Wesleyan thrust and eventually pulled ahead by 11 with 1:41 remaining, the Ephs' largest lead. The final score read 74-65. Thomas had a double-double with 11 points and game-high 14 rebounds. Brown had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. Callaghan added 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Cardinals had their final Little Three game of the season during a trip to Amherst Tues., Jan. 15 for a non-NESCAC meeting. Facing their third straight nationally ranked NESCAC rival (Middlebury is #3, Williams #10 and Amherst #16), the Cardinals recovered from a 17-9 deficit midway through the first half to take a 30-25 lead with a 21-8 run and hold a 32-29 halftime margin. Callaghan had 12 points and Brown nine at intermission. But the Lord Jeffs took the lead for good with 17:38 left on a three-pointer for a 34-32 lead, part of an 8-0 start to the second period an a 37-32 lead. Wesleyan scored the next basket to make it 37-34 but Amherst steadily enlarged the difference to double digits at 51-40 with 7:42 on the clock. The Cardinals got no closer than six from that point when Derek Beresford '13 hit a trey with 2:10 remaining, making the score 62-56. Amherst made six free throws down the stretch to keep Wesleyan at bay before securing a 68-60 victory.
Brown added 22 points to his career total, now 1,579, leaving him 113 shy of the Wesleyan record with eight regular-season games left. Callaghan was good for 13 points and nine rebounds while Thomas grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
Wesleyan has a pivotal NESCAC road weekend starting at Tufts Fri., Jan. 18 and closing out at Bates Sat., Jan. 19. Both games will featured LiveStats and a webcast. Click < here > for Tufts at 6 p.m. and < here > for Bates at 2 p.m.