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Wesleyan Holds Off Second Half Rally to Defeat Purchase, 91-80

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

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Antone Walker and Austin Hutcherson scored 26 and 22 points, respectively, to help lead the 25th-ranked Wesleyan University men's basketball team to a 91-80 victory over Purchase College on Monday night.

The Cardinals never trailed, and held off a late second half rally by the Panthers, as they improved to 14-4 overall with their sixth-straight win. With the loss, Purchase fell to 8-9 on the year.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Wesleyan won the opening tip and 19 seconds later, Jordan James threw down an emphatic two-handed dunk for the first basket of the game.
  • The majority of the first half went back-and-forth, until the closing minutes.
  • Following a basket by Willie Britton that cut the deficit to six, 29-23, the Cardinals went on a 7-0 run capped off by a Walker layup to put the home team ahead by 13 at the 3:47 mark.
  • Wesleyan led by double-digits the rest of the half and a layup by Mike Felix with 11 seconds remaining got the Panthers within 12 as they trailed 43-31 at the break.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Cardinals came out strong in the second half and scored six unanswered points to grab a commanding 18-point lead.
  • Shortly after, a pair of free throws by James capped off a 13-0 run as Wesleyan took its largest lead of the game, up 29 with 13:01 remaining.
  • The Panthers slowly cut away at the deficit and with 57 seconds left on the clock, Britton hit two free throws to get within 10.
  • Purchase caused back-to-back turnovers and a basket by Maxx Miller, followed by another free throw by Britton at the 35-second mark, made it a seven-point game as they trailed 87-80, capping off a 43-21 run by the visitors.
  • Wesleyan remained composed, however, as Walker and Hutcherson sealed the win at the line as they finished 4-of-4 in the closing seconds.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Walker was 7-of-13 from the floor, 3-of-6 from downtown, and a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe. Hutcherson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds as well to finish with a double-double, and also lead the team with three assists. Both Walker and Hutcherson led the Cardinals with three steals apiece, while Jordan Bonner joined them in double-figures with 13 points.
  • The Panthers were led by Elijah Lott, who dropped 21 points, while Britton scored 18, Miller finished with 14 off the bench, and Jorge Perdomo registered 13. Lott also led the team with eight assists, seven rebounds, and five steals.

UP NEXT:

  • Wesleyan returns to NESCAC action on Friday, Jan. 25 and will play Bates on the road. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.