Middletown, Conn. - The Wesleyan Cardinals dropped their first NESCAC game of the year in a thriller to Middlebury College Friday night. Middlebury, who had five players score in double-figures, was able to come away with the victory 86-76. The Cardinals, whose 11 game win-streaked was snapped, drop to 11-2 (0-1) while the Panthers improve to 7-6 (1-0).
The first half saw Wesleyan get off to a hoot start, building a 12 point lead at the 15:32 mark with a three by Senior Jack Mackey. The Panthers would slowly chip away at the lead, using their fast-paced offense to keep the Cardinals defense on their toes. The Panthers got the lead down to 4 at the 10:50 mark on a layup by freshman Eric McCord to bring the score to 18-14. The Cardinals would build their lead back up to eight with consecutive layups by Senior Rashid Epps. Another three by Mackey at 7:13 remaining brought the Cardinal's lead back up to 12. The Panthers came right back and were able to get the game tied at 30 with 2:21 remaining until half thanks to a three by freshman Hilal Dahelh. The Cardinals would then score the next seven points and go into half up 37-30. Dahelh had a team high 12 points at the break for the Panthers, while Mackey had a team high 10 points for Wesleyan.
The second half proved to be even more exciting than the first half as the teams played excellent basketball. The Panthers came out of the locker-room and immediately began chipping away at the Wesleyan lead. A layup by Senior Matt Daley and a three pointer by Sophmore Jack Daly brought the Wesleyan lead down to two at 18:29. Panthers' Junior Jake Brown was able to steal the ball from Epps and lead Daly on the break where Daly converted the lay-in to tie the game at 39. Wesleyan was able to build a lead back up to five, but the Panthers would not go away, and at the 11:01 mark they took their first led of the game on a layup by McCord. The teams would then battle it out, exchanging the lead back-and-fourth. Wesleyan was finally able to pull out to a five point lead at 66-61 with 6:29 left in the game. The Panthers would agin tie the game up with 3:25 remaining, and from that point they never looked back, as they went onto win the game 86-76.
For the Panthers, Junior Matt St. Amour lead the team with 18 points while Dahleh finished the game with 16 points. Junior Jake Brown and Freshman Eric McCord both finished with 14 while Daly finished with 12.
The Cardinals were lead in scoring by Davis who had 18 followed by Senior Joe Edmonds who had 17. Mackey finished the game with 15, and Epps finished with 10.
Wesleyan returns to action tomorrow at 3pm against Hamilton while Middlebury plays at Conn College at 3pm.