MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Juniors Jordan Bonner and Kevin O'Brien of the Wesleyan University men's basketball team scored 21 and 18 points, respectively, to help lead the Cardinals to a commanding 80-61 win over Nichols College Tuesday night in Silloway Gymnasium.
O'Brien led all players with nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks, while also recording a steal as Wesleyan improved to 3-0 on the year. The Bison, who reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, dropped their first game of the season and are now 2-1.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Cardinals jumped out to an 8-3 lead early before a 10-4 run by Nichols capped off by a three-pointer from Josiah Kimball put the visitor's ahead 13-12.
- However, the lead was short-lived and a three by Antone Walker '21 seconds later put Wesleyan back on top, this time for good.
- With 3:01 to play in the half, a lay-up by O'Brien put the home team ahead by double-digits, and another lay-up by the junior shortly after capped off a 10-2 run as the Cardinals went ahead 37-23.
- Marcos Echevarria hit one from downtown as the time expired to cut the deficit to 11 at the break (39-28).
- O'Brien led all scorers in the first half with 10 points as Wesleyan shot an impressive 54.5% (18-33) from the floor.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Nichols came out hot to start the second half as it went on a 7-0 run and a three from Daequon Antoine cut the margin to six.
- Wesleyan rallied nicely, however, and a dunk by Jordan Sears '18 off an assist from O'Brien put the Cardinals ahead 55-40 with 12:29 to play.
- In the closing minutes, another lay-up by O'Brien increased the lead to 23 (76-53)—the largest of the game—with 3:37 remaining.
- Bonner scored 14 of his game-high 21 in the final 20 minutes of regulation and Wesleyan's hot shooting continued as it went 53.6% (15-28) from the floor in the second half.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan held a 47-35 edge in rebounding and a decisive 54-16 advantage in points in the paint. The Cardinals also outscored Nichols in fast break points, 16-2, and finished 54.1% (33-61) from the floor while holding the Bison to 29% (20-69) shooting.
- Bonner went 6-13 from the floor, 7-8 from the line and 2-4 from three-point range. He also grabbed seven boards. JR Bascom '18 totaled nine points, while the freshmen trio of Jordan James, Austin Hutcherson and Antone Walker scored eight, seven and seven, respectively.
- Four players scored in double-figures for Nichols as Antoine led the way with 15 points. Nate Tenaglia dropped 14 off the bench, while DeAnte Bruton scored 11 and Echevarria added 10. Jerome Cunningham led the team with eight boards.
- The Cardinals are back in action Sunday, Nov. 26 for their first road game of the season as they face Manhattanville at 3 p.m.