No. 5 Wesleyan Rallies Late but Falls to No. 4 Middlebury in NESCAC Quarterfinal Action, 86-74

Photo by Jonas Powell '18
Photo by Jonas Powell '18

NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Harry Rafferty '17 scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, but the fifth-seeded Wesleyan University men's basketball team fell to fourth-seeded Middlebury College in the NESCAC Quarterfinal Saturday afternoon, 86-74.

RECORDS
Wesleyan: 18-7
Middlebury: 15-10

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Middlebury never trailed as it opened the game strong and took a double-digit lead early, and held off several late runs by the Cardinals en route to the victory.
  • Wesleyan shot 37.5% (24-64) from the floor and hit 10 three-pointers, and were led by Rafferty's 19 points. Joining him in double-figures was Jack Mackey '16 and Nathan Krill '18 with 13 and 12, respectively. Joseph Kuo '17 led the Cardinals with eight rebounds and Mackey dished out a team-high four assists.
  • Matt St. Amour led all scorers with 23 points, while Adisa Majors added 18 and Jake Brown scored 11 for Middlebury. The Panthers were led by Majors and St. Amour on the boards with eight and six, respectively. Middlebury shot 48.4% (31-64) from the floor.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • Middlebury came out hot to start the game and jumped out to a 10-point lead at the 15:10 mark following a three-pointer by Amour.
  • The Cardinals got within seven (32-25) roughly 10 minutes later as Mackey hit one from downtown.
  • It proved to be the closest margin the rest of the half as ajumper by Zach Baines with just :12 remaining before the break gave Middlebury a 45-32 halftime lead.
  • St. Amour scored 19 points in the first 20 minutes of action on 6-of-11 shooting.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS

  • Both teams went back and forth early on in the opening minutes of the second half.
  • With 8:08 remaining in regulation, Rafferty hit one from beyond-the-arc to cut the deficit to single digits for the first time since the 2:24 mark of the first as they trailed, 65-58.
  • Minutes later, a lay-up by Nathan Krill '18 capped off a 10-3 Wesleyan run as the visitor's got within five, 68-63, with 5:47 to play.
  • In the closing minutes, Mackey and Davis hit deep three pointers, on consecutive possessions, to get within five once again, 79-74.
  • However, Middlebury held Wesleyan scoreless in the final minute and hit its free throws to seal the win.

UP NEXT

  • Wesleyan will wait to see if it earns a NCAA tournament bid when the selection show airs Monday, Feb. 29 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Middlebury advances to the conference semifinals next Saturday, Feb. 27 and awaits its opponent.