Salem, Mass. -- Nathan Krill ('16) led the Wesleyan University Cardinals with 16 points as they sailed past the Soaring Eagles of Elmira 91-56 on day one of the 2015 Salem State Men's Holiday Classic. The Cardinals improve their record to 9-1 while the Eagles fall to 1-7.
The Cardinals' offense looked sharp in the opening minutes of the contest as Harry Rafferty ('17) scored five consecutive points to help Wesleyan jump out to a quick 7-0 lead. Elmira's Gino Leonardi ('16) shot an impressive 3-4 from beyond the arc in the first half including a three from the corner that cut the deficit to 15-14 with just under 15 minutes to play in the first. However, the Cardinals efficient offense went to work and they answered with a 16-0 run that gave them a 31-14 advantage with 11:22 on the clock. Wesleyan had all the momentum including a transition alley oop that went from Kevin O'Brien ('19) to Joseph Kuo ('17) for an easy dunk. Elmira had trouble penetrating the lane as the Cardinals' bigs protected the rim well. Wesleyan also dominated in the paint as they outscored the Soaring Eagles 28-6 in the post in the first half. The Cardinals bench was extremely productive as they scored a combined 21 points helping to take a 52-27 lead into halftime.
Wesleyan proceeded to roll on offense as they maintained a lead of 20 points or greater for the remainder of the game. A Rafferty three pointer sparked an 11-0 run that gave the Cardinals a 66-35 advantage with 13:38 remaining. Wesleyans' defense forced 23 turnovers which they were able to convert into 12 points in the second half alone. Leonardi carried the Soaring Eagles offense as he continued to shoot lights out on 5-6 shooting from beyond the arc for a total of 21 points. Wesleyan took the largest lead of the night at a 37-point differential at the 2:14 after a good free throw made by JR Bascom ('18). The Cardinals closed out the game in the final minutes as they went on to win 91-56.
Wesleyan had four players score in double digits, Krill (16), Rafferty (13), Kuo (11) and Joe Edmonds ('16) who added 14 points. Kuo and Rashid Epps both grabbed grabbed seven rebounds while Jack Mackey ('16) dished out eight assists. Hayden Harkins ('18) contributed with 13 points for Elmira.
Wesleyan returns to action tomorrow night against Salem St College at 7 p.m.
Recap provided by Salem St Athletics