MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Jordan Bonner etched his name in the Wesleyan record books on Senior Day Saturday afternoon as the Houston, Texas native became the 24th player in Cardinals' men's basketball history to score 1,000 career points, as he helped guide Wesleyan to a commanding 91-65 victory over Bowdoin. With the win, the Cardinals secured a spot in the NESCAC Tournament.
Bonner finished with 15 points and six rebounds, and Austin Hutcherson set a new career-high with 37 points on 13-of-16 shooting as Wesleyan improved to 16-8 overall and 6-4 in league play. The Polar Bears were led by Zavier Rucker, who dropped 23 points, as they fell to 15-9 and 4-6.
Wesleyan will play in the NESCAC Quarterfinals next Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. The Cardinals will have to wait until the conclusion of the Amherst/Hamilton game on Tuesday night to see where they will seed in the tournament and who they will face.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- Bowdoin came out strong to open the game and took a 16-7 lead at the 14:55 mark following a 3-pointer by Jack Bors.
- Wesleyan responded with eight unanswered to get within one with 11:48 remaining.
- Shortly after, a 3-pointer by Shackylle Dezonie followed by a basket from Bonner gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game, up 20-19 with 8:21 on the clock.
- Both teams exchanged points over the next several minutes and with 4:23 remaining, Bonner hit one from downtown for his 1,000th career point, giving Wesleyan a 28-25 lead.
- The Cardinals closed out the half on a 12-3 run to go ahead by nine at the break, 40-31.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Wesleyan in the second half as the Cardinals opened with a 15-4 run to go ahead by 20 with 15:45 to play.
- The strong start to the half essentially put the game out of reach.
- Bowdoin cut the deficit to 13 at the 11:25 mark, but it was the closest the visitors would get the rest of the way.
- With 2:08 remaining, Bonner cut through the lane for a two-handed put-back dunk to ignite the crowd and extend the lead to 24.
- Hutcherson had another incredible second half for the Cardinals. A day after scoring 21 in the final 20 minutes, he dropped 24 today on 9-of-10 shooting including 3-of-4 from downtown.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hutcherson's 37 points surpassed his previous career-high of 36 and marks the fifth 30-point game of his career, and fourth this season. He was 13-of-16 from the floor, 5-of-7 from behind-the-arc, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line. He also led all players with nine rebounds.
- Bonner has enjoyed an excellent career with the Cardinals as he celebrated Senior Day with a historic milestone and finished 6-of-13 from the floor. Antone Walker dropped 12 and dished out a game-high five assists, and Dezonie led the bench with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting.
- Rucker was joined in double-figures by Jack Simonds and David Reynolds with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Reynolds finished with a team-high eight rebounds and Rucker led the squad with two assists.
- Wesleyan was 22-26 from the foul line and dominated the boards with a 40-28 rebounding advantage. The Cardinals also outscored the Polar Bears 38-18 in the paint.