AURORA, N.Y. – Junior E.J. Taylor (Tampa Bay, Fla.) set a career-high mark with 22 points en route to an 83-80 victory by the Wells College men's basketball team over the Wildcats of Cazenovia College Thursday evening at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the victory, the Express collect their first North Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the season (1-0) while evening their overall record at 4-4. The Wildcats fall to 3-5 overall on the season and drop their first NEAC tilt of the season (0-1).
In the first half, the Express and Wildcats traded points until a Matt Perry layup granted the Wildcats a 12-9 lead. From that point, a Taylor three pointer only eight seconds later knotted the game at 12 apiece. From there, Meech Drayton and Tyler Walker (Spencerport, N.Y.) each traded layups before Taylor's second three pointer within minutes granted the Express a three point cushion that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the half. A Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) three pointer with 2:00 remaining in the first stanza opened up a 15 point cushion for the Express, who at that point led by a 38-23 margin.
With a 13 point lead with 14:11 remaining in the second half, the Express let the Wildcats back into the game. Two free throws and a layup by Dan Cunningham trimmed four points off of the Express advantage at 13:17. Cunningham and Taylor traded layups in the 12th minute, but the Wildcats rattled off the game's next 10 points to cut the deficit to one. Following an Erich Kaempffe (North Rose, N.Y.) layup with 9:37 remaining in regulation, Perry converted four straight foul shots to capture their first lead of the half.
At its greatest in the second half, the Cazenovia lead was four points with 7:26 remaining as the visiting team led by a 69-65 margin. From that point on, both teams tied the game five more times, including with 1:56 remaining in the contest when Hurtado buried both free throws to tie the score and take the lead as well.
With time winding down, the Wildcats had several opportunities to tie the game but the team converted only a single foul shot within the game's last 1:06, shooting a combined 1-for-6 as the clock wound down.
In addition to Taylor's 22 points, the Express also saw a 19 point performance from Hurtado and a 14 point game from freshman Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas). Hurtado pulled down a team-best 10 boards while Bishop was a perfect 2-for-2 from three point range. Hurtado was also perfect from beyond the arc himself, converting 3-of-3 opportunities from three point range.
For the Wildcats, Perry posted a team-leading 39 points in the contest via a 12-for-18 performance from the field. Draining two three pointers, Perry also buried 13-of-15 of his free throws. His 39 point performance marks the highest total scored against the Express by one individual in program history, eclipsing the previous mark set by SUNYIT's Diloo Brown on Feb. 21, 2009 (38 points).
Robert Rohrig led the way with five steals for the Wildcats while Cunningham chipped in eight helpers. Rohrig also led his team on the boards with eight total rebounds.
The Express return to action Tuesday, Dec. 18 as they host Waynesburg University at the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Field House with a 2 p.m. tipoff. 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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