Score: Wesleyan 84, Southern Maine 63
Records: Wesleyan (1-0); Southern Maine (1-1)
Location: Middletown, Conn. (Silloway Gymnasium)
Date: Friday, November 18
Time: 6 p.m.
The Lead: Ahead by two at halftime, the Wesleyan University men's basketball team outscored the University of Southern Maine, 44-25 in the second half en route to a commanding 84-63 win Friday night in its 2016-17 season opener. The game was also the first of four contests in the annual two-day Herb Kenny Tournament, hosted by the Cardinals.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- The Huskies came out hot to start the game and hit back-to-back three pointers within the opening minute.
- Southern Maine held a lead for almost three minutes early on until a lay-up from Joseph Kuo '17 put the home team ahead, 11-10 at the 16:33 mark.
- The Cardinals outscored the visitor's 20-6 from 16:33 to 9:42 as Jordan Sears '19 hit consecutive free throws to give Wesleyan at 14-point lead – it's largest of the half.
- The visitor's slowly cut into the lead though, and a three-pointer by Christian McCue with 11 seconds remaining in the half evened the score at 38-38.
- However, Wesleyan inbounded the ball and drove the length of the court as Salim Green '19 made a lay-up with :02 on the clock to give the Cardinals a 40-38 halftime lead.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- After two scoreless minutes to open the second half, Southern Maine evened the score at 40-40 after a pair of free throws by Zach Leal.
- The opening minutes featured five ties until a lay-up by Kevin O'Brien '19 at the 12:22 mark put Wesleyan up 55-53, and the Cardinals never looked back.
- Wesleyan was led by Green down the stretch, as the sophomore put the game out of reach with a three-pointer at the 2:37 mark to put the home team ahead, 81-60.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Green scored 17 of his career- and game-high 21 points in the second half, as he finished 7-of-9 from the field, 2-of-3 from downtown and 5-of-5 from the free throw line, coming off the bench. In his first game of the 2016-17 season, Green has already surpassed his point total from his freshman campaign (14).
- The sophomore was one of four Cardinal players in double-figures, as Kuo posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Kevin O'Brien '19 and Jordan Bonner '19 finished with 15 and 10 points, respectively. O'Brien also led the team with three assists.
- Wesleyan dominated the paint and outscored Southern Maine, 56-19, and also held a 20-8 edge in second chance points.
- Three players scored in double-figures for Southern Maine as Leal led the way with 18. Jacob Littlefield added 14 points, all in the first half, and McCue finished with 11.
- Wesleyan will play in the Championship game of the Herb Kenny Tournament tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Western New England University, who defeated Wheaton College 73-58 in the late game Friday night.
- Southern Maine is scheduled to play Wheaton in the Consolation game tomorrow at 1 p.m.