MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University men's basketball team mounted an incredible comeback effort Friday night but a large halftime deficit was too much to overcome as the Cardinals dropped a NESCAC contest to Colby College in Silloway Gymnasium, 90-80.
It was a tale of two halves Friday night, with the Mules shooting lights out in the first 20 minutes to take a commanding 54-28 lead at the break. However, Wesleyan played exceptionally well on both sides of the ball in the second half and cut the deficit to one with 4:10 to play. Despite the momentum in the home team's favor, Noah Tyson hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Matt Hanna drilled a contested trey to give the Mules an eight-point advantage with 1:42 to play, essentially putting the game away.
Austin Hutcherson was terrific in the second half for the Cardinals, scoring 21 of his game-high 26 points in the final 20 minutes. However, with the loss, Wesleyan falls to 15-8 overall and 5-4 in NESCAC play. Colby hit 18 3-pointers as a team and was led by Hanna, who finished with 19 points, as the Mules improved to 16-7 and 4-5.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was all Colby in the first 20 minutes.
- The tone was set early, with both teams exchanging 3-pointers and Wallace Tucker hitting another to give the visitors a 9-6 advantage.
- After a Jordan James layup cut the deficit to one, the Mules went on a 19-0 run to go ahead 28-8 with 13:34 on the clock.
- Of Colby's 20 field goals in the first half, 12 were from downtown as the team shot 54.4% (12-22) from 3-point range en route to a commanding 26-point halftime lead.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:
- It was a completely different story in the second half as Wesleyan came out strong and a dunk by Hutcherson capped off a 6-0 run.
- Minutes later, trailing 60-37, the Cardinals went on a 15-2 run as a 3-pointer in the corner from freshman Sam Peek got the home team within 10 with 11:08 remaining.
- Following some back-and-forth action, Jordan Bonner grabbed a defensive rebound and quickly pushed it up the court before finding Peek for a layup to cut the deficit to single digits. With 9:38 to play, Wesleyan trailed 67-58.
- The Cardinals went on another run shortly after, scoring seven unanswered as a strong two-handed dunk by James got the home team within four.
- Wesleyan wasn't done, and at the 4:39 mark, Hutcherson drove to the lane and converted a 3-point play as the Cardinals trailed 74-73.
- Both teams exchanged baskets to keep it a one-point game before Tyson knocked down back-to-back treys and Hanna nailed a dagger at the 1:42 mark.
- Colby would go on to seal the win from the line.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hutcherson was joined in double-figures by Antone Walker, Bonner, and Peek. Walker dropped 21, Bonner finished with 12 and a game-high 16 rebounds, and Peek recorded a new career-high with 11 points. Walker also led the team in assists with five.
- For the Mules, Tyson dropped 17, Sam Jefferson scored 15, and Alex Dorion added 11. Tyson also pulled in 10 rebounds for the double-double and Tucker dished out a game-high six assists.
- Colby shot 46.2% (18-39) from deep and 50.0% (28-56) from the floor. Wesleyan led the rebounding battle, 36-32, and outscored the Mules down low, 36-18.
- The Cardinals are back in action tomorrow and will host Bowdoin at 3 p.m. in their regular-season finale.