CAZENOVIA, N.Y. – Powered by a triumvirate of 10-plus point scorers, the Wells College men's basketball team picked up a 74-69 victory over the Wildcats of Cazenovia College Monday evening at the Schneeweiss Athletic Complex. With the victory, Wells improves to 1-4 overall while also earning their first North Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the year. Cazenovia (1-2, 0-1 NEAC) drops their second game of the year and their first within league play.
With the win, the Express pick up their 80th victory in team history and their 10th-straight over the Wildcats. Head Coach Joe Wojtylko also earns his 90th collegiate coaching victory, having previously earned 10 wins with the Statesmen of Hobart College during the 2005-06 season as interim bench boss.
With a team-leading 18 points, senior Al Paul (Elmont, N.Y.) was a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe alongside a 5-of-8 mark from the floor. Junior Shakeel Simmons (Ridgewood, N.Y.) collected 14 total points for Wells, shooting 2-for-3 from three point range while also securing nine rebounds.
Freshman Jordan Jean (Englewood, N.J.) was able to earn his first collegiate double-double, pulling down a team-best 15 rebounds alongside 11 points. Freshman Tyrese Campbell (Staten Island, N.Y.) was a team-leading 3-for-9 from beyond the arc.
In the first half, the Express and Wildcats played to a 34-34 deadlock through the game's first 20 minutes. Wells opened up a seven point lead with 9:33 remaining in the first, utilizing a Jean jumper to elevate the Express to a 22-15 lead. Kainan McCarthy missed two jumpers for Cazenovia, opening up a three-point opportunity for Campbell at the other end of the floor. His ensuing three-point basket elevated the Express to a half-high 10 point advantage, 25-15.
Cazenovia cut the deficit down the stretch, eventually taking the one point lead, 30-29, following a Ryan Gavin layup with 2:39 remaining in the half. Trailing by three, 34-31, with only 50 seconds remaining in the stanza, a clutch three-point basket by Randy McCormick (Massillon, Ohio) knotted the score at 34 entering halftime.
In the second half, Wells never trailed as Simmons' jumper with only 14 seconds expired placed the Express up for good. Eventually, Wells racked up an 11 point lead following a Campbell three-point basket with 14:55 remaining in regulation time. The Wildcats made a late comeback, coming as close as 57-55 with 8:01 remaining after a Ryan Gavin jumper, but the Express quickly answered with a McCormick three-point basket to reestablish a lead.
The Wildcats were led by Gavin's 24 points and eight rebounds after converting 10-of-13 shots from the free throw line. DeMarcus Bernard secured 10 points for the hosts, burying 3-of-7 shots from the floor. Malik Adair-Mountain racked up a team-leading four assists.
Due to inclement weather, the men's basketball game versus SUNY Institute of Technology scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 27 has been postponed to a later date to be announced. The Express hit the road on Saturday, Nov. 30, facing-off against Waynesburg University at 1:00 p.m.