LEWISTON, Maine -- Shasha Brown scored 24 points and Mike Callaghan added 18 as Wesleyan University defeated the Bates College men's basketball team 61-51 in NESCAC action on Saturday.
Wesleyan's win broke head coach Joe Reilly's three-game skid against his former team and improved the Cardinals to 8-10 overall, 2-4 in NESCAC play.
Bates sophomore Graham Safford (Hampden, Maine) led another second-half charge by the Bobcats, scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points in the period. Junior Luke Matarazzo (Shelton, Conn.) shared the scoring load, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the half. Senior Ed Bogdanovich (Portland, Maine) had a team-high seven rebounds with two steals in the game.
While Bates started out the game missing eight of its first 10 shots, Wesleyan grew a 16-7 lead after nine minutes on the strength of three old-fashioned three-point plays -- two of them by Callaghan and the other by Brown. The Cardinals' lead expanded to 16, at 26-10, with a 10-0 run all by the hands of Brown and Callaghan. Safford's steal and layup made it 30-17 before intermission, a score reflecting Bates' dismal 6-of-24 shooting from the field. Callaghan made 4-of-7 from the floor, including his one three-point attempt, for 12 points in the half, with Brown adding nine.
Safford made a three and drove for a layup to start out the second half, prompting Reilly to call a timeout, but Matarazzo added another three out of the break to cut Wesleyan's lead to 36-25. Safford then missed his next attempt and Wesleyan's Derick Beresford made a jumper at the other end to return the advantage to 13 at 38-25.
Bates outscored Wesleyan 13-3 over the next six minutes to make it a three-point game at 41-38. Senior Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) kicked off the run with a three-point play, his first points of the game. Wesleyan shot 1-for-9 over that time, while Matarazzo and Safford took turns assisting each other's 3-pointers. Beresford answered Safford's three with one of his own, assisted by Callaghan, to end the run and bump Wesleyan's lead back to six at 44-38 with 7:37 to go.
Both sides appeared fatigued down the stretch, toward the end of their two games in less than 24 hours. Neither team could make much headway offensively, which effectively preserved Wesleyan's slim lead. After first-year Mike Boornazian's (Portland, Conn.) jumper cut the Cardinal lead to 51-46 with 2:58 to go, Brown attempted all of Wesleyan's shots the rest of the way. Brown made a jumper with 2:27 left, then found room for a layup with 1:01 to go to make it a nine-point game at 55-46. Brown was fouled three times in the final minute and made 6-of-6 free throws in that time to seal Wesleyan's victory.
Safford has now scored 13 or more points in 11 straight games -- over that lengthy stretch, he has made 29 of 50 attempts from beyond the arc (.580) and averaged 15.5 points per game.
Bates next plays host to Tufts on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2pm.