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Walker Hits Clutch Free Throws as Wesleyan Defeats No. 15 Amherst, 79-77

Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography
Photo by Steve McLaughlin Photography

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – With five seconds remaining in regulation, Antone Walker hit a pair of game-winning free throws to give the Wesleyan men's basketball team a 79-77 win over Little Three archrival and No. 15 Amherst on Tuesday night in Silloway Gymnasium.

The Mammoths had an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer but Grant Robinson's three-point heave came up short as it hit the left side of the rim.

Walker finished with 14 points for the Cardinals as they earned their sixth-straight win overall. They are now 9-2 on the year. Amherst, who was led by Robinson's game-high 20 points, drops to 8-3. Tonight's game did not count towards the NESCAC standings.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Amherst came out strong and jumped out to a 23-11 lead following a 3-pointer from Josh Chery at the 11:33 mark.
  • On the following end, Gabe Millstein hit one from deep to snap the Mammoths' 10-0 stretch.
  • Wesleyan got within seven but Amherst went on another run and a 3-pointer by Robinson at the 4:02 mark gave the visitors a 14-point lead (36-22).
  • However, the Cardinals rallied as back-to-back 3-pointers from Gabe Ravetz jumpstarted a 10-0 run for the home team as they got within four with 57 seconds remaining.
  • Garrett Day was fouled on an attempted 3-pointer with :05 on the clock and hit all three to give the visitors a 41-34 advantage at halftime.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Both teams came out strong offensively to start the second half, hitting one 3-pointer after another.
  • Trailing by nine at the 17:50 mark, Wesleyan's stifling defense helped the Cardinals score nine unanswered points as a dunk by Jordan James evened the score at 50-50 two minutes later.
  • With 12:23 remaining, Ravetz hit another shot from behind-the-arc and bookended a 9-0 run by completing a four-point play.
  • Amherst didn't back down, however, as it slowly cut into the deficit and with 4:02 remaining in the game, Fru Che hit one from deep to put the visitors back on top, 67-66. It proved to be the last time the Mammoths would lead in the game.
  • Tied at 74-74, Sam Peek hit a trey but Robinson answered just seven seconds later with a three of his own.
  • Wesleyan regained possession with the shot clock off, and Walker was fouled outside the three-point line. The junior was clutch as he knocked down both shots to give the Cardinals the win.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • Four players scored in double-figures for Wesleyan who was led by Peek's 18. He also led the team in rebounds with six. James dropped 16 points and Ravetz scored 15 off the bench on 4-of-8 shooting from deep. Walker recorded a team-high four assists and two steals.
  • Robinson scored 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep. He also led all players in rebounds (8), assists (6), and steals (3), while also blocking a shot. Che dropped 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and Eric Sellew added 12 and seven boards.
  • Despite the loss, Amherst was 14-of-29 (48.3%) from deep.
  • Wesleyan held a 33-31 edge in rebounding and outscored the Mammoths' bench, 26-13.

UP NEXT:

  • The Cardinals open their conference slate on Friday, January 10 and will host Tufts at 7 p.m.