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Hutcherson Leads Second Half Rally as Wesleyan Knocks off No. 6 Hamilton in Thriller, 73-69

Photo Courtesy of Jonas Powell '18
Photo Courtesy of Jonas Powell '18

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Trailing by nine at halftime, Austin Hutcherson scored 24 points in the final 20 minutes of regulation to led the Wesleyan University men's basketball team to a 73-69 thrilling victory over previously undefeated and nationally-ranked No. 6 Hamilton College on Friday night in Silloway Gymnasium.

The Cardinals trailed by as much as 13 with 18:16 remaining in regulation, but Hutcherson scored 12 straight points down the stretch to give Wesleyan its first lead of the game as it went ahead 66-61 at the 3:18 mark. The sophomore guard finished with 32 points—his second consecutive 30-point performance—as the Cardinals improved to 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the NESCAC. With the loss, the Continentals' 13-game win streak comes to an end as they are now 13-1 overall and 1-1 in league play.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Both teams struggled offensively early on but Hamilton scored the first basket and held a lead throughout the half.
  • With 10:37 on the clock, Hutcherson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and went to the line, where he connected on all three foul shots to cut the deficit to one, 15-14.
  • However, Hamilton responded with a 10-2 stretch as a layup by Peter Hoffman capped off the run at the 6:45 mark, giving the visitors a 25-16 advantage.
  • The Continentals led by as much as 10, twice, and a jumper by Kena Gilmour with 0:09 on the clock put Hamilton up 40-31 at halftime.
  • Gilmour led all players at the break with 15 points. However, Wesleyan held him scoreless in the final 20 minutes of play.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Continentals came out hot to start the second half and a layup by Tim Doyle gave them a 46-33 lead, forcing a Cardinal timeout.
  • Jordan Bonner led a rally after the timeout with three consecutive baskets, and a layup by Hutcherson at the 16:00 mark capped off an 8-0 Wesleyan run to cut the deficit to five.
  • Both teams exchanged baskets over the next several minutes until the 7:21 mark, when Gabe Ravetz hit a 3-pointer that put Wesleyan within three, 55-52.
  • After a pair of free throws by Jordan James shortly after cut the deficit to one, Michael Grassey hit a 3-pointer and Hoffman hit a layup to regain a six-point advantage.
  • However, Hamilton's rally was short-lived as Hutcherson went off. The sophomore hit three consecutive 3-pointers to give Wesleyan a 63-61 advantage and then converted a 3-point play to cap off 12-straight points for the Cardinals as they went ahead by five with 3:18 to play.
  • Back-to-back baskets by Hamilton seconds later cut the deficit to one, 66-65, but a 3-point play by JR Bascom put Wesleyan back on top by four.
  • The Cardinals were clutch at the free throw line down the stretch, going 5-for-5 in the final minute to seal the 73-69 victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Wesleyan finished an incredible 22-of-23 from the charity stripe.
  • Hutcherson went 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half and finished with a total of five 3-pointers. He was 9-of-19 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the foul line. Antone Walker joined him in double figures with 11 points and Bonner finished with eight and a game-high 14 rebounds. James led the team in assists with four and also blocked a game-high three shots.
  • Grassey led the Continentals with 20 points and went 9-of-18 from the floor. Hoffman led the team in rebounds with eight, including eight points, and Tim Doyle dished out a team-high three assists. Doyle also dropped eight points.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan remains at home for another NESCAC showdown tomorrow against Little Three rival and No. 24 Amherst. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.