AURORA, N.Y. – Needing to secure as many North Eastern Athletic Conference victories down the stretch to qualify for the postseason, the Wells College men's basketball defeated the Wolfpack of Keuka College by a 67-61 score Wednesday evening at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. Wells improves to 6-15 overall and to 6-7 within the NEAC while the visiting Wolfpack drop to 11-8 overall and to 8-5 within league play.
Senior Jordan Jean (Englewood, N.J.) had a monster game for Wells off the bench, scoring 20 points while tying for the team lead with three steals. Sophomores Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) and Darius Smith (Lanham, Md.) each scored 11 points while senior EZ Garcia (Cotulla, Texas) assisted a team-best four field goals. Wells was an impressive 26-for-32 at the free throw line (81.3%) on the evening as Jean himself shot 10-for-13 from the charity stripe.
Keuka opened up a game-high six point lead with 16:31 left in the first half following a Tyler Hixson layup to boost the Wolfpack to an 8-2 lead. A key three-point basket by Courtney with 6:38 left in the first half elevated Wells to a 24-21 lead and senior Shakeel Simmons (Brentwood, N.Y.) quickly added a layup of his own within the next 30 seconds to increase the hosts lead.
Wells led by as many as six in the first half, capturing a 29-23 lead following a Simmons free throw. A Walton layup increased the Express lead to 37-30, but two free throws in the half's final three seconds created a five point advantage for Wells at the half. In total, the Express bench scored 22 of their team's 37 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Wolfpack came storming back in the second half, scoring eight-straight points via free throws near the midpoint of the half to take a 51-48 lead following an Adam Starks make with 8:05 left in regulation time. Trailing 53-52 with 4:44 left, Wells scored the game's next eight points at the free throw line.
Keuka made things interesting down the stretch, scoring six-straight points across 1:02 of play in the final two minutes but a dramatic Smith three-point basket for Wells recreated a four point lead, 63-59, with 47 seconds left.
The Wolfpack were led by Tyler Hixson's 18 points. Trevor Healey registered 15 while Tyler and Starks each struck for 10 points. Casey Williams was the visitors' leading rebounder with seven boards and Tyler racked up three assists.
Wells returns to action Saturday, Feb. 14 as they host Penn College at 2 p.m. on Senior Day. The Express will honor and recognize their seven graduating seniors with a pregame ceremony.