ALFRED, N.Y. – Several newcomers had impressive debuts for the Wells College men's basketball team, but the Express dropped its season-opening game to the Saxons from Alfred University by a 76-67 score on Friday at the Terry S. Galanis Family Arena. With the loss, Wells moves to 0-1 on the young season while Alfred picks up its first win of the year.
Junior James Feocco (Auburn, N.Y.) led Wells with a career-high 18 points, securing five rebounds for the Express. Freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) made his Express debut on Friday, posting 17 points and six rebounds alongside a team-leading six assists. Junior Vaughndell Brantley (Syracuse, N.Y.) also reached double-digit points scored with 10 to his credit.
Wells posted its highest single-game field goal percentage in two seasons, shooting 25-for-45 from the floor for a 55.6% mark. However, Wells posted only two offensive rebounds during the game as Alfred controlled the glass, hauling in 45 rebounds while limiting the Express to only 29 total boards. 13 second half turnovers also allowed the Saxons to capture the season-opening win.
A jumper from Feocco tied the game at five in the early goings, but the Saxons went on a six-point run to capture an 11-5 lead with only 4:50 expired on the first half clock. Alfred went on to post a 27-21 lead with 8:33 left in the opening half, but the Express quickly answered with six-straight points to tie the game at 27 following a layup by junior Darius Smith (Lanham, Md.).
A Ross layup with 2:49 left in the first half gave the Express a 31-30 lead and a Smith layup preceded two free throw makes by sophomore Jared Alexander (Langley Park, Md.) to take a 35-30 lead into halftime. The Wells defense was ultimately able to hold Alfred scoreless through the final 4:33 of the second half.
A Feocco jumper in the second half lifted Wells to a 42-37 lead at 15:58, but the Saxons came roaring back with four-straight points to swing the momentum in favor of the hosts. Alfred took the 48-46 lead with 11:43 remaining in regulation time following a Dom Lemorta layup, but the Express were able to counter with seven-straight points to assume a 53-48 lead with 10:25 left.
One of the nation's top scoring teams across the previous two seasons, Alfred's next three field goals were from three-point range as the Saxons quickly recaptured the lead, 57-56, with 7:57 remaining. Six-straight points opened up a 63-56 lead for Alfred and the Express were only able to cut the deficit to four points down the stretch.
Tyler Seelman led Alfred with 22 points. Eric Adams posted a double-double, posting 15 points and as many rebounds while Nigel Herbert assisted five baskets for the Saxons.
Wells returns to action Thursday, Nov. 19 as it hosts Alfred State College in a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m. in the Farenthold Athletic Wing.