MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The 18th-ranked Wesleyan University men's basketball team overcame an early 15-0 deficit to rally and defeat Brandeis University on Saturday afternoon, 71-61. Freshman Austin Hutcherson finished with a season-high 27 points as he went 7-of-9 from downtown.
The Cardinals remain perfect as they enter the winter break with an 8-0 record. The Judges are now 2-6 on the season.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Brandeis in the opening minutes as the visitors took a commanding 15-0 lead.
- After eight minutes of scoreless play, Wesleyan eventually got on the board following a pair of free throws from Jordan James '21.
- With 10:23 to play in the first half, JR Bascom '18 knocked down the first field goal of the game for the Cardinals.
- Trailing by 15 (19-4) with 10:03 remaining, Wesleyan outscored the visitors 26-13 the rest of the way to cut the deficit to two entering the break.
- A three-pointer by Hutcherson with :35 remaining helped give the Cardinals momentum entering the second half as they trailed 32-30 at halftime.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The second half was a different story. Nathan Krill '18 blocked a shot and took the rebound the length of the court as he finished with a one-handed dunk to tie the game at 34-34. Less than 30 seconds later, a dunk by James put the Cardinals on top for the first time all day at the 18:33 mark.
- Brandeis regained a lead with 13:15 to play and went ahead 43-39 seconds later following a pair of free throws from Collin Sawyer.
- Wesleyan, however, went on a 9-0 run capped off by a Hutcherson layup at the 10:24 mark to put the Cardinals back on top, this time for good.
- The home team continued to increase its lead down the stretch as Wesleyan claimed the 10-point come-from-behind victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Wesleyan shot 45.8% (27-59) from the floor and 40.9% (9-22) from downtown while Brandeis shot 32.8% (22-67) from the floor and 25.0% (7-28) from behind-the-arc. The Judges held a slight 43-42 edge in rebounding but the Cardinals outscored Brandies in the paint, 34-16. Both teams turned the ball over 20 times.
- Hutcherson was 10-of-17 from the floor and added six rebounds and four steals. He was joined in double-figures by Jordan Bonner '19 (11), James (10) and Krill (10). Kevin O'Brien '19 dished out a game-high nine assists and James added a game-high five blocks to go along with six rebounds.
- Brandeis was led by Sawyer who finished with a team-high 14 points while Chandler Jones added 13 and Nate Meehan dropped 11. Latye Workman led all players with 11 boards and Lawrence Sabir registered a team-high four assists.
- The Cardinals are off for the winter break and will return to action Saturday, Dec. 30 to face Fitchburg State at 7:30 p.m. on the first day of the Springfield/Naismith Classic.