MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Jayde Dawson '18 scored a team-high 17 points but Wesleyan University erased a 32-23 halftime deficit and scored 50 points in the second half to help lift the Cardinals to a 73-59 over the No. 5 Amherst College men's basketball team in Friday evening's NESCAC tilt at Silloway Gymnasium in Middletown, Conn.
With the loss, Amherst moves to 10-3 overall, 1-1 in NESCAC action, while Wesleyan improves to 12-3 overall, 1-2 in league play. The Purple & White are back in action tomorrow at 3 p.m. when they travel to conference foe Conn. College.
A balanced first half saw Amherst stake a 32-23 lead on the strength of an eight-point effort from Dawson, and six points each from Jeff Racy '17 and Michael Riopel '18 who each connected on two three-pointers in the half. Dawson and Johnny McCarthy '18 each struck from downtown during the first 20 minutes as the Purple & White, who shot just 30.3% from the floor, hit six treys in the frame en route to the nine-point cushion.
In the second half, Amherst came out firing and extended its lead to 12 points (its largest lead of the game) when Racy canned another triple, but Wesleyan was quick to respond scoring nine unanswered points, highlighted by a dunk from Joseph Kuo to pull the Cardinals to within three (35-32) with 16:24 remaining in the game. Back-to-back layups by Dawson pushed the Amherst lead back seven, but another run by Wesleyan that saw Kuo make consecutive layups of his own, while Harry Rafferty added a jumper, allowed the Cardinals to pull to within one at 39-38 with 13:52 on the clock.
Trailing 41-38, Krill powered in a slam that set the hosts on a 10-0 run. Krill added a triple, and Salim Green muscled in a layup, before Andrew Gardiner drained a trey at the 10:50 mark to give the Cardinals a 48-41 advantage. From there, stellar free throw shooting by Wesleyan allowed the hosts to notch a 16-point lead (61-45) – its largest of the contest – at the 6:21 mark following a layup by Kevin O'Brien. Riopel then hit 6-of-6 from the free throw line as the Purple & White netted nine unanswered points to pull to within nine at 61-52 with 4:43 remaining in the stanza after a bucket by Jacob Nabatoff '17. From there, the Cardinals were able to maintain a double-digit lead thanks to a 5-for-6 effort from the foul line by O'Brien to help complete the 73-59 win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Dawson finished with a team-high 17 points and added five rebounds, and three steals, while Racy poured in 11 points on a 3-for-5 effort from beyond-the-arc. David George '17 added a team-high eight rebounds and three blocked shots, while McCarthy grabbed six boards.
- Off the bench, Riopel led Amherst with 10 points and five boards, while Eric Conklin '17 added seven and chipped in six rebounds.
- The Purple & White shot 30% from the field, and 24.1% from three-point range in the losing effort.
- Wesleyan was led by O'Brien who scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, and 7-for-14 efficiency from the free throw line. Kuo added 14 points and six boards, while Green totaled 11 points. Rafferty logged nine points three assists, while O'Brien collected nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and four steals.
- In reserve, Jordan Sears led all players with 10 rebounds.
- The Cardinals held a 40-22 advantage in points in the paint, while the Purple & White bench outscored Wesleyan's reserves 20-13.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Amherst and Wesleyan will meet later this season on Feb. 7 at LeFrak Gymnasium in the Little III contest.
- The Purple & White, who downed Williams, 80-72 in their last outing (Jan. 6) in Williamstown, Mass., will host the Ephs in other Little III action on Jan. 25 at LeFrak Gymnasium.