Men’s Basketball Rallies in Second Half to Cruise Past Colby in Regular-Season Finale, 82-67

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

THE BASICS:

Score: Wesleyan 82, Colby 67
Records:
Wesleyan (19-5, 6-4 NESCAC); Colby (10-14, 1-9 NESCAC)
Location: Middletown, Conn.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Time: 3 p.m.
The Lead: Tied 33-33 at halftime, the Wesleyan University men's basketball team rallied in the second half as it cruised to a commanding 82-67 win over Colby College Saturday afternoon in the team's 2016-17 regular-season finale.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Both teams shot exceptionally well from downtown in the first 20 minutes of regulation as the half went back-and-forth throughout, featuring four ties and four lead changes. 
  • The Cardinals went 6-of-16 (37.5%) from behind-the-arc, while the Mules finished 7-of-19 (36.8%) from downtown.
  • Colby held a lead for much of the first half until a three-pointer by Harry Rafferty '17 at the 7:19 mark evened the score at 18-18.
  • Just over a minute later, a three from Elijah Wilson '20 gave Wesleyan its first lead of the game with 6:04 to play in the half, up 21-20.
  • A lay-up by Kevin O'Brien '19 shortly after capped off a 6-0 Cardinals run to go ahead 24-20, but the Mules responded with an 11-3 run as a three-pointer from Sam Jefferson put the visitor's ahead by four.
  • Wesleyan cut into the deficit and a lay-up by O'Brien with 0:17 remaining on the clock evened the score at 33-33 entering the break.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Joe Connelly, who played for the Cardinals as a freshman in 2013-14, hit a three-pointer in the opening seconds to put Colby ahead 36-33.
  • However, a three from O'Brien over a minute later put the Cardinals back on top, 37-36, and they never looked back.
  • With 12:02 remaining in regulation, Rafferty hit another one from deep to give Wesleyan its first double-digit lead of the game, 54-44.
  • The Cardinals continued to increase their lead and three consecutive three-pointers from O'Brien and two from Jordan Bonner '19 put the home team ahead 73-52 with 6:01 on the clock.
  • Colby didn't back down easily and a couple made baskets from behind-the-arc cut the deficit to 11 with 2:11 to play, but the deficit proved to be too much as a dunk by Joseph Kuo '17 and a lay-up by JR Bascom '18 late in the game sealed the 15-point victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • For the second consecutive game, four of Wesleyan's starters scored double-figures with Rafferty leading the way. The senior finished with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from downtown, while also dishing out six assists. Bonner finished with 15 points, O'Brien added 14 and Kuo scored 11. Jordan Sears '18 led all players with 11 rebounds, while O'Brien grabbed six, recorded two steals and one block, and tallied a game-high eight assists.
  • The Mules attempted 45 three-pointers, and made 16 of them. Five different players scored double-figures with Jefferson dropping a game-high 17 on 5-of-10 shooting from behind-the-arc. He also led Colby in rebounds (6), assists (4) and blocks (2).

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • Prior to tip-off, the Cardinals honored their two senior class members; Joseph Kuo and Harry Rafferty.
  • Both seniors have been critical to the team's success the past four seasons, which included a NESCAC Championship in 2014-15.
  • Rafferty has etched his name in the Wesleyan record books by becoming the 23rd player all-time to reach the 1,000-point club. He currently has 1,099 points, while Kuo looks to join him and currently sits at 978 career points.

UP NEXT:

  • With the win, the Cardinals finished the regular-season tied in fourth-place in the NESCAC standings alongside Trinity with a 6-4 record. Wesleyan, having defeated the Bantams in the regular season, own the tiebreaker and will host its in-state rival Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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