No. 17 Wesleyan Knocks Off No. 4 Marietta to Remain Perfect, 81-65

Photo by Alex Serbetzian
Photo by Alex Serbetzian

THE BASICS:

Score: Wesleyan 81, Marietta 65
Records:
No. 17 Wesleyan (11-0); No. 4 Marietta (8-2)
Location: Daytona Beach, Fla.
Date: Wednesday, December 21
Time: 6 p.m.
The Lead: The 17th-ranked Wesleyan University men's basketball team continued its historic run Wednesday night by defeating fourth-ranked Marietta College, 81-65, and remains perfect this season with an 11-0 record.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Cardinals scored the first two buckets of the game to go ahead 4-0 before a 6-0 run by the Pioneers, which set the tone for a first half that went back-and-forth throughout.
  • Trailing 9-6, Wesleyan responded by scoring six of the next eight points as a lay-up by JR Bascom '18 put the Cardinals back up briefly at the 14:24 mark, 12-11.
  • Shortly after, Marietta went on another run of its own with a 7-0 stretch as a three-pointer by AJ Edwards with 10:17 to play put the Pioneers up 20-14. It was Wesleyan's largest deficit of the game.
  • The Cardinals, however, answered nicely with an 11-0 run to regain a lead and take a 25-20 advantage with 6:00 left in the half.
  • Wesleyan continued to increase its lead down the stretch and went ahead by 10 with :55 to go after a jumper by Andrew Gardiner '19, but a basket by Dillon Young seconds later cut the margin to eight as the Cardinals took a 36-28 lead into the break.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In the final 20 minutes of regulation, Harry Rafferty '17 helped guide the Cardinals to victory by scoring 17 of his 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting. He also went 3-of-6 from behind-the-arc.
  • Additionally, Jordan Sears '18 went a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor for 11 points.
  • Wesleyan led the majority of the second half and went up 11 early after a three from Rafferty at the 18:27 mark put the Cardinals ahead, 41-30.
  • However, the Pioneers didn't back down and knotted the game at 60-60 with 6:56 to play.
  • Seconds later, Edwards hit 1-of-2 foul shots to give Marietta its first lead of the second half. However, it proved to be the Pioneers last lead of the game as Wesleyan's stifling defense held them to a mere four points in the final 6:21 of regulation.
  • The Cardinals took advantage of Marietta's scoring struggles and pulled away with the impressive 81-65 victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Joseph Kuo '17 was excellent for Wesleyan and finished with a game-high 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while grabbing five rebounds, recording four steals and dishing out two assists. Rafferty and Sears finished with 19 and 13 points, respectively, while O'Brien led all players with nine rebounds and Sears added eight. Sears also registered a game-high four assists, three steals and two blocks.
  • Three players scored in double-figures for Marietta as well, as Kyle Dixon and Young finished with 16 and Edwards added 12. Edwards also corralled a team-high seven rebounds and Dixon dished out a team-high three assists.
  • Wesleyan shot 44.6% (29-65) from the floor and outrebounded the Pioneers 43-38. The Cardinals defense forced 22 turnovers and capitalized on their opponent's mistakes, scoring 23 points off those turnovers. Wesleyan also dominated the paint by outscoring Marietta, 48-20.
  • Wednesday's game featured 10 lead changes and four ties.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • Tonight's meeting was just the second-ever between Wesleyan and Marietta. The first meeting was in 1968-69. The Cardinals now evened the series at 1-1.
  • With the win, Wesleyan improves to 11-0 on the year – its second best start to open a season in the program's 115 years of varsity competition. Currently the only squad to win more games to open a season were the 1911-12 Cardinals, who finished the year with a perfect 13-0 mark.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan returns to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 3 and will host Rhode Island College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
  • The Pioneers are back in action Wednesday, Jan. 4 and will play at Muskingum University at 7 p.m.

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