CAZENOVIA, N.Y. - The Wells College men's basketball team opened North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play with a hard fought 77-71 victory over the Cazenovia College Wildcats Wednesday evening in Cazenovia. The defending NEAC champions pulled away late hitting six of ten free throws to improve to 3-4 overall and 1-0 in the NEAC.
Terry Harrison (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led all Express scorers notching a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Mabior Mayen (Syracuse, N.Y.) added 15 points, Luke Thomas (Kernersville, N.C.) chipped in with 14 points, Dave Foltz (Auburn, N.Y.) finished with 10 points and six rebounds, and Andre Sawyers (Bronx, N.Y.) missed a near double-double finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds to round out the highlights for the Express.
Matt Perry paced the Wildcats (3-5, 0-1 NEAC) finishing with a game high 27 points and 12 rebounds, while teammates Darnell Sampson and Brad Lefevre each added 10 points.
The two teams traded shots through the first ten minutes of play but two free throws by Thomas and a lay-up from Mike DiCampli (Geneva, N.Y.) gave the Express a five point lead (30-25) at the 8:34 mark of the first half. The margin remained five with less than five minutes to play until the Express rattled off a 5-0 run, capped by a Thomas 3-pointer to extend their lead to 12 points (43-31). The Wildcats responded with a late run just before the break, trimming the lead back to five (46-41) at the half.
The two teams continued to play neck and neck through the second half with the Wildcats battling to tie the game at 55-55 at the 11:35 mark. Wells responded with Thomas' fourth trey of the evening and a jumper by Harrison to extend their lead back to five (60-55). Cazenovia continued to chip away and would take brief one point lead (68-67) on four straight points from Sampson with less than six minutes to play. An old fashion three point play by Mayen put the Express ahead for good as clutch free throw shooting down the stretch sealed the conference victory.
The Express shot 42 percent from the field, including 7-19 from behind the arc, while hitting on 18 of 30 from the charity stripe. Wells also held a 43-35 advantage on the glass.
The Express will enter the winter break on bit of role having won three straight and will not return to action until Dec. 30 when they welcome Ithaca College to campus for a non-conference match-up at 4 p.m. in Aurora.