The Wesleyan University men's basketball team (16-8, 6-4 NESCAC) earned the six-seed in the 2019 NESCAC Championships and will play third-seeded Amherst College (20-4, 7-3 NESCAC) on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. The winner will advance to the semifinals on Feb. 23 at the highest remaining seed in the tournament, with the finals set for Feb. 24.
Williams, Trinity, and Wesleyan all finished with identical conference records of 6-4. In head-to-head competition, Williams went 2-0, Trinity went 1-1, and Wesleyan went 0-2. As a result, Williams earned the No. 4 seed, Trinity earned the No. 5 seed, and Wesleyan earned the No. 6 seed.
AT A GLANCE: WESLEYAN
- The Cardinals are the No. 6 seed for the first time since 2015 and qualified for the NESCAC Tournament for the fifth-straight year.
- Wesleyan is 8-11 all-time in 12 tournament appearances including one championship, in which it defeated Amherst (74-70, OT) in 2015.
- After opening the season 3-3 with a difficult non-conference schedule, the Cardinals rallied and won 12 of its next 13 contests to find its way into the top-25. However, they lost their next four before defeating Bowdoin in the regular-season finale to secure a postseason berth.
- Wesleyan is 6-4 on the road this season.
- Sophomore sensation Austin Hutcherson leads the NESCAC in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game. He has four 30-point performances this season. He also leads the league in free throw percentage (88.0), ranks seventh in 3-point percentage (40.4), and is ninth in assists (74).
- Senior co-captain Jordan Bonner just became the 24th player in program history to join the 1,000-point club. He's averaging 14.5 points per game and ranks second in the conference in rebounding, averaging 9.5 per contest.
- Sophomore Jordan James highlights the Wesleyan frontcourt and leads the NESCAC in field goal percentage, hitting 64.7% of his shots. He is also fifth in blocks with 32.
- As a team, the Cardinals rank seventh in scoring offense (76.3 ppg) and fourth in scoring defense (69.5). Wesleyan is the second-best team in free throw shooting, averaging 74.5% from the foul line, and sit fourth in rebounds with 42.9 per game.
AT A GLANCE: NO. 11 AMHERST
- Amherst moved up to No. 11 in the national rankings following a six-game win streak but saw it end on Wednesday night as it lost to No. 10 Hamilton on the road. The Mammoths were edged in the regular-season finale, 81-77, to finish 7-3 in the conference and earn the three-seed following the tiebreaker between Middlebury and Hamilton.
- Amherst is the all-time winningest program in NESCAC Tournament history, boasting a 36-11 (.766) record with seven conference titles and six runner-up finishes.
- The Mammoths are 13-2 at home this season, 5-1 against NESCAC teams, and have won four-straight in LeFrak Gymnasium. Their last home contest was against Wesleyan on Feb. 5 and their last loss at home was to Colby (83-73) on Jan. 25.
- The team is led by sophomore guard Grant Robinson who ranks 14th in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.4 points per game. He is also seventh in assists (77), eighth in free throw percentage (81.9), and has been a force defensively with 38 steals which is second-best in the league.
- In the frontcourt, Eric Sellew and Joe Schneider lead the way for the Mammoths. Sellew is second on the team and 28th in the league in scoring (11.5 ppg) and ranks eighth in the conference in rebounding (8.3 rpg). At 6-10, Schneider ranks second behind Wesleyan's James in field goal percentage with a mark of 63.3 and is fourth in the NESCAC in blocks with 34.
- Amherst boasts the league's top defense, allowing a league-low 64.0 points per game. The Mammoths are also tied for the league-lead in rebounds, averaging 45.0 per game, and sixth in scoring offense with 82.0 points per contest. Amherst has struggled from behind-the-arc this season though, hitting just 32.9% (195-592) from 3-point range.
- Wesleyan is 2-2 against Amherst in NESCAC postseason play. Last year, Nathan Krill '18 hit a deep buzzer-beater 3-pointer to knock off the top-seeded Mammoths in the semifinals, 65-63.
- The Cardinals split a pair of games against Amherst this season, winning 62-60 on a game-winning shot by Hutcherson at home on Jan. 12, before falling 61-60 on the road on Feb. 5.
- In the all-time series, Amherst holds a strong 127-82 lead, but it's been all Wesleyan as of late. Prior to the loss on Feb. 5, the Cardinals had won seven-straight against their Little Three rivals and are 8-2 in the last 10 meetings dating back to the NESCAC Championships game on March 1, 2015.