Score: Trinity 51, Wesleyan 49
Records: Wesleyan (19-6, 6-4 NESCAC); Trinity (16-9, 6-4 NESCAC)
Location: Middletown, Conn.
Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 3 p.m.
The Lead: Trailing for the majority of the game, fifth-seeded Trinity College slowly cut into the deficit in the second half and Ed Ogundeko hit a game-winning jumper with :01 on the clock to hand the fourth-seeded Wesleyan University men's basketball team a heartbreaking loss in the NESCAC Quarterfinals, 51-49.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals' defense held Trinity to a mere four points for the first 9:30 of the half.
- Wesleyan took a 14-4 lead with 11:40 to play following a lay-up from Kevin O'Brien '19.
- The Bantams cut the deficit to five at the 8:14 mark as Joe Bell hit a difficult floater in the paint.
- Wesleyan went back up by nine with 4:32 remaining as Jordan Sears '18 hit a free throw. The nine-point lead proved to be the largest by either team the rest of the half.
- Ahead by five with :38 on the clock, Jordan Bonner '19 received a pass from Salim Green '19 as he drilled one from behind-the-arc.
- However, Trinity responded as Kyle Padmore hit a jumper with :04 remaining to get within six at the break, 26-20.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Bonner opened up the second half with another three-pointer.
- After a jumper from Jeremy Arthur and a lay-up from Ogundeko, Harry Rafferty '17 responded with back-to-back three's to give Wesleyan a 35-24 lead with 16:52 to play.
- Trinity retaliated with six unanswered points to get within five, but Bonner took a defensive rebound and drove the length of the court, converting on a three-point play to ignite an electric crowd and put the Cardinals back up by eight.
- The Bantams, who struggled to find the bottom of the net all night, started knocking down jumpers late in the game and a three-pointer from Chris Turnbull with 6:16 to play cut the deficit to one, 42-41.
- Nathan Krill '18 responded seconds later with a three of his own, and a lay-up by JR Bascom '18 off a spectacular dish by O'Brien increased Wesleyan's lead to six, 47-41.
- Trinity wouldn't back down, however, and scored six straight to even the game with 2:18 to play, it was the first tie since the 18:56 mark of the first half.
- O'Brien made a great cut to the hoop for a lay-up to put the Cardinals ahead by two, 49-47 with 1:17 to play, but Ogundeko evened the score seconds later with an impressive spin move and lay-up.
- For the next 58 seconds, neither team would score until Trinity gained possession with :17 on the clock and held for the last shot, and Ogundeko sealed the victory with the game-winner as the ball dropped through the net with :01 on the clock.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Two players scored in double-figures for Wesleyan as Bonner dropped a game-high 13 points and Krill added 10. Krill also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and O'Brien dished out a game-high seven assists.
- Trinity had two players in double-figures as well. Eric Gendron led the way with 13 points and Turnbull added 12. Ogundeko finished with eight points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and added three blocks.
- In a battle between two of the top defenses in the NESCAC, Wesleyan shot 30.6% (15-40) form the field, but held Trinity to 27.9% (17-61) and only 14.3% (2-14) from downtown.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
- Wesleyan and Trinity both finished the regular-season with identical 6-4 NESCAC records, but the Cardinals claimed the tiebreaker by beating the Bantams earlier in the season, 65-61.
- Wesleyan has advanced to 11 NESCAC Championships since the conference tournament began in 2000-01, and is 6-10 all-time with one title. The Bantams have made 15 appearances in postseason play and are now 14-13 overall with one championship and two runner-up finishes.
- Prior to today's game, the last time in-state rivals Wesleyan and Trinity met in the NESCAC Championships was 2014-15, when the No. 6 Cardinals defeated the No. 1 Bantams on their home court, 55-52. Wesleyan went on to win its first-ever conference championship that year.
- Trinity now leads the all-time conference tournament series over Wesleyan, 3-2.
- Wesleyan awaits its NCAA Tournament fate when the selection show airs Monday, Feb. 27 at 12:30 p.m.
- Trinity advances to the NESCAC Semifinals and will play Middlebury at Tufts next Saturday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.