ERIE, Pa. – Paced by E.J. Taylor's (Tampa Bay, Fla.) 18 points, the Wells College men's basketball team recorded a 78-75 victory over the Wolverines of Grove City College Saturday afternoon on the campus of Penn State Behrend. The Express (1-1) collect their first victory of the season while the Wolverines (0-2) drop their second game on the season.
Through the first 11:16 of the first half, the Express trailed by a margin of 23-17 following a Josh Patterson three point basket. However, a shooting foul committed by Christian Durbin opened the door for the Express to mount a comeback. Taylor made the ensuing two shots and buried a three pointer only 26 seconds later to cut the margin down to one point.
Following a missed jumper by Patterson, Taylor battled for the defensive rebound which preceded an Al Paul (Elmont, N.Y.) layup that granted the Express their first lead of the game at 7:25. Despite Mitch Marmelstein tying the game only seconds later, the momentum swung greatly in favor of the Express which later took a four point lead following a Ryan Hood (Massillon, Ohio) free throw and a three pointer by Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas).
Grove City was able to recapture their lead following seven Express turnovers, carrying a six point lead with only 1:49 remaining in the first half following a Patterson three pointer to bring the score to 37-31. With time dwindling down, the Express rattled off seven-straight points to take a 38-37 lead with only 25 seconds remaining. With three seconds remaining, a Durbin jumper placed the Wolverines ahead by a 39-38 lead just before the half.
The back-and-forth pace of the game continued within the second half's first two minutes, as each team exchanged layups, ultimately resulting in a 43-42 lead for the Wolverines. With only 13:37 remaining in the second half, the Wolverines further built upon their lead with a Mark Pilarski layup to extend the Grove City lead to a game-high 10 points.
Once again, the Express rallied and rattled off nine points to cut the Wolverines lead to one with only 10:14 remaining in the half. In keeping with the back-and-forth battle, however, two consecutive three point baskets by Grove City once again lifted them to a seven point lead with 8:55 remaining in regulation time.
With both teams virtually trading points with time winding down, the Wolverines once again possessed a six point margin with 5:33 left in the second half. A J.J. Walton (Ocala, Fla.) layup preceded a Walton jumper to cut the lead to two at 4:32. The big play in the contest came with just over four minutes left in regulation time, as a Hood three point basket granted the Express the lead late.
From that point, the Express did not relinquish the lead. With 21 seconds remaining, the Express were able to ward off a strong charge by the Wolverines, but two missed three point baskets with time winding down guaranteed the first victory on the season for Wells College.
Taylor earned All-Tournament Team honors with his performance over the weekend, culminating with an 18 point performance this afternoon. Shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe, Taylor becomes only the fifth Express player to maintain a perfect free throw percentage (min. six free throws made) in one game. The last time an Express player was perfect from the free throw line was Dave Foltz, who was 9-for-9 at the free throw line against Keuka College on Feb. 18, 2012.
Walton was a team leading 7-for-8 in field goals for the Express en route of a 17 point performance in only his second game in an Express uniform. Walton was also 3-for-3 at the line for the Express and chipped in a team-best four assists. Hood, who poured in the go-ahead three pointer, posted a 12 point performance, chipping in two steals and a team-leading eight rebounds.
For Grove City, J.T. Schwartz led the way with 19 total points for the Wolverines, recording four three point baskets and posting a team-high eight rebounds and six steals. Marmelstein ranked second on the team with 16 total points off of seven field goals, a three pointer and a free throw.
As a team, the Express buried 19-of-24 (79.2%) of their free throw opportunities as opposed to the Wolverines' 6-for-14 percentage on free throws. The Express also outscored their opponents in the paint, 44-26.
The Express return to action Tuesday, Nov. 20 as they host the Giants of Keystone College in a 7:00 p.m. contest at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. Stay up to date with the latest news directly from the Wells College athletic department by "liking" us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/WellsExpress) and subscribing to our Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/WellsExpress).
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