AURORA, N.Y. – Junior E.J. Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) posted 18 total points for the Express as the Wells College men's basketball team secured a 74-64 victory over the Storm of Keuka College Saturday afternoon at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the victory, the Express improve to 12-13 overall on the year and to 8-7 within North Eastern Athletic Conference play. The Storm fall to 10-13 overall and to 8-7 within league play.
The Express await official word from the NEAC with regards to playoff schedules and scenarios – Wells has not missed the NEAC playoffs since their first varsity season in 2008-09. Additionally, last year marked only the first season that Wells did not advance to the championship game. Wells last claimed a NEAC championship in 2010-11 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament that same season.
In 40 minutes of play, Taylor poured home 6-of-10 shots from the floor to lead the team with 18 points. Sophomore Ryan Hood (Massillon, Ohio) set a career-high mark with 17 total points, hammering home 3-of-5 shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore J.J. Walton (Ocala, Fla.) poured in 16 total points and was 6-for-8 from the field cumulatively.
Keuka built up a four point advantage with 13:15 remaining in the first half, utilizing a Casey Williams layup to build an 11-7 lead. The Express countered with back-to-back three-point baskets from both Taylor and freshman Salvatore Fabozzi (Staten Island, N.Y.) to take a two point lead. After a Jared Wagner layup, a free throw by Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 11:03 remaining preceded a "three" from Hood to allow the Express to take a four point lead, 17-13, with 9:59 remaining.
Taylor lifted the Express to a seven point lead, 22-15, with 6:55 remaining in the first half to rally his squad. However, Keuka answered with seven-straight points to knot the score at 22 apiece following a Jared Wagner free throw. To exit the first half, the Express captured a 32-30 halftime advantage following a Hood layup with eight seconds remaining in the half. In total, Wells utilized Keuka turnovers to score 16 points, but Keuka scored 15 points off of second chance opportunities.
Despite trading baskets in the opening minutes of the second stanza, the Express and Storm found themselves tied at 53 apiece with 7:31 remaining in regulation time, the 10th different tie score in the contest. For Keuka, Williams buried both free shots as the Storm captured a one point lead. However, the Express rattled off the game's next eight points, taking a 62-54 lead with 5:32 remaining in the second half.
With the score as close as two points following a Teddy Tuggles jumper to make the score 65-63 with 2:43 remaining, the Express utilized a Taylor free throw and a Jonathan Bonds (Chicago, Ill.) layup with 1:40 remaining to take a five point lead. Following a successful free throw attempt by Joe Tortolon, the Express buried all six of their free throws down the stretch to create the 10 point winning margin.
Trevor Healey led the way for Keuka, posting 20 of his team's 64 total points. Tuggles converted his team's lone three-point field goal of the afternoon and cumulatively scored 14 points. Wagner led the way with four steals and three assists for the Storm.
The lone senior student-athlete on the squadron, Kenneth Boddie (Syracuse, N.Y.) was honored in a pre-game ceremony for his contributions to the program across the past three seasons. Following the 2012-13 regular season, Boddie ranks 12th all-time in games played (44) and set career-high marks this season in minutes played, field goals, rebounds, assists and steals.
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