MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Austin Hutcherson scored all of his team-high 16 points in the second half to help lead a Wesleyan rally, but the Cardinals' men's basketball team came up short against in-state NESCAC rival Trinity in a thriller, 75-69.
Friday night's game featured 13 lead changes and five ties as it came down to the final minute, with the score even at 67-67. However, the Bantams secured the win from the foul line, going a perfect 6-of-6 in the last 25 seconds en route to the victory. Wesleyan is now 15-6 overall and 5-3 in the conference, while the Bantams improved to 14-7 and 3-4.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals came out strong, scoring the first five points of the game, and extended their lead to 10 at the 11:14 mark following a layup by Gabe Ravetz.
- Trinity rallied with a 15-4 run, as a basket by Kyle Padmore put the visitors on top for the first time with 5:44 on the clock, 27-26.
- The Bantams continued to increase their lead down the stretch and a 3-pointer by Connor Merinder with 33 seconds remaining gave Trinity a 39-32 halftime lead.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Wesleyan opened the second half on a 7-0 run as Hutcherson tied the game at 39 in the opening minutes. The home team held Trinity scoreless for the first 3:59.
- With 15:21 remaining, a 3-pointer by Joe Bell gave the Bantams a 44-39 lead. Jordan James cut the deficit to three, but Bell increased the lead back to five on their next possession.
- After the basket by Bell, a steal by the Cardinals led to a fastbreak dunk by Hutcherson. Both teams exchanged baskets, including another jumper by Hutcherson, then the sophomore stole the ball and finished with another fast break dunk to give Wesleyan a 49-48 lead, igniting the crowd and forcing a Trinity timeout.
- The game went back-and-forth over the next nine minutes, with Trinity holding a slight lead throughout.
- Down by five with 5:19 remaining, 61-56, Antone Walker connected with Jordan James for an alley-oop and Hutcherson capped off a 6-0 run to put Wesleyan ahead with 3:12 left in regulation.
- After a pair of free throws by Nick Seretta put Trinity back on top, Jordan Bonner hit one from deep to give the Cardinals a 65-63 advantage.
- Back-to-back layups from Kyle Padmore and Donald Jorden, respectively, gave the Bantams a two-point lead with 1:14 to play.
- Jordan James went to the line seconds later and hit both to even the score, but Trinity responded 12 seconds later with another layup as Seretta put the visitors on top for good.
- A Wesleyan turnover on its next possession followed by strong shooting at the free throw line for the Bantams sealed the win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Three players scored in double-figures for Wesleyan. In addition to Hutcherson's 16, Walker finished with 11 and Bonner dropped 10. Walker recorded a career- and team-high eight rebounds as well.
- The Bantams were led by Jorden who recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Merinder scored a team-high 12 points and Seretta added 11. Padmore finished with nine points and a game-high six assists.
- Both teams shot nearly identical from the floor—Trinity finished 28-64 and Wesleyan went 28-63—while the Bantams finished 5-27 from deep and the Cardinals shot 4-21. However, Trinity was exceptional at the foul line and finished 14-16. Wesleyan also held a slight edge in rebounding, 39-36, and points in the paint, 44-40.
- The Cardinals are back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 5 and will play at Amherst in a non-conference matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.