AURORA, N.Y. – Sparked by a career-high 20 points from freshman Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.), the Wells College men's basketball team posted a 75-69 victory over the Wildcats of Cazenovia College on Saturday within the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing. With the victory, Wells improves to 7-10 overall on the year and to 6-4 in league play. Cazenovia falls to 4-11 overall on the year and to 2-7 in league play.
Despite a Wells overtime loss in their first-ever meeting with Cazenovia on Jan. 20, 2009, Wells has won the next 11 contests versus the Wildcats. At home, Wells is 5-0 all-time versus Cazenovia. Wells has also swept the season series versus Cazenovia after posting a 74-69 road victory on Nov. 25, 2013.
Courtney scored 20 points for Wells, shooting 7-for-12 from the floor with five three-point baskets alongside three assists in the winning effort. Senior Jonathan Hurtado (Brooklyn, N.Y.) ranked second on the team in scoring, striking for 14 points and a team-leading four assists. Junior Shakeel Simmons (Brentwood, N.Y.) and senior Jonathan Bonds (Chicago, Ill.) each pulled down six rebounds for Wells, tying for the team lead in that category.
Wells opened up a 13 point lead over Cazenovia only 10:06 into the contest following a three-point basket from junior EZ Garcia (Cotulla, Texas). The Wildcats did come back to tie the game and take the lead, however, following two successful free throws by DeMarcus Bernard to elevate Cazenovia to the 35-34 lead with 3:04 left in the first half.
Cazenovia closed the half strong following a layup by sophomore Jordan Bishop (Arlington, Texas) that granted Wells a 34-36 lead with 4:39 left in the stanza. Cazenovia scored the game's next 11 points and ultimately outscored the Express by a 16-to-2 margin in the half's final 4:32. Despite Wells outshooting Cazenovia by a 53.8%-to-50% margin, the Wildcats converted 12-of-13 free throws while Wells mustered only five successful free throws in eight chances.
Wells utilized strong shooting beyond the arc to eventually overcome a second half deficit. Courtney converted three shots beyond the arc, netting nine points by himself in the second half's first 10 minutes. Across that time frame, Simmons and Garcia also added three-point baskets of their own to help cut into the deficit. Garcia's three-pointer came with the Express down 56-54 and ultimately granted Wells the lead for good.
Cazenovia was led by Keith Caiello's 24 points and his team-leading four three-pointers. Malik Adair-Mountain and Ryan Gavin each struck for 14 points with the latter also racking up a team-leading 10 rebounds for a double-double. Caiello also posted five assists, leading his team, while Bernard and Caiello partnered to strike for two steals apiece.
Wells hosts the Mustangs of Morrisville State College on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 6:00 p.m. to continue their lengthy homestand.