AURORA, N.Y. – Despite a team-leading 13 points from senior Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the Wells College men's basketball team recorded a 68-56 loss to the Storm of Keuka College at home on Saturday. The Express, who needed a victory over the Storm to qualify for the North Eastern Athletic Conference playoffs, miss the playoffs for the first time in team history with a 7-16 overall record alongside a 6-10 mark within the conference. Keuka wraps their season with a 6-15 overall record and a 4-12 league record.
Alongside his 13 point effort, Hurtado posted a team-best four steals in the loss. Junior Shakeel Simmons (Brentwood, N.Y.) ranked second on the team with 10 total points, pulling down five points for Wells. His classmate, Tyrese Campbell (Staten Island, N.Y.), tied with junior EZ Garcia (Cotulla, Texas) with two assists apiece.
Simmons hurled home a three-point basket in the game's first 57 seconds, elevating the Express to a game-high 3-0 lead. Both squads battled to a 24-24 deadlock with 4:41 left in the first half, following a Hurtado foul shot. The Storm, however, took the lead with a Casey Williams free throw and eventually built up a four point lead, 31-27, with 1:23 left in the first half following a Tyler Hixson layup. In total, the Storm scored 10 of their team's 31 first half points off of Express turnovers.
A jumper by Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) tied the score at 38 aside with 15:05 left in the second half. Keuka answered with the game's next six points to capture a six point lead. Despite a foul shot from Hurtado, the Storm took a commanding eight point lead with 11:22 left following a three-pointer by Adam Starks. Down the stretch, Keuka went on to take a 57-47 lead after Jared Wagner bombed a three and then was fouled on his team's next offensive play. His two foul further extended the visitors lead.
Garcia threw up a successful layup with 1:21 left in the first half, but the Storm closed out the game with six-straight points, all via foul shots, to close the door on the Express. Keuka led from start to finish in the game's second half.
Hixson led all players with 20 total points, shooting 8-for-16 from the floor while adding eight rebounds to tie for the team lead with Vinney Zambito. Scoring 17 points, Zambito ranked second on the squad in scoring while Wagner chipped in with 13 total points for the Storm.