AURORA, N.Y. – Trailing by seven points with 1:22 remaining in regulation time, the Wells College men's basketball used a 15-to-3 run to capture a 79-74 victory over Alfred State College on Thursday at the Farenthold Athletic Wing. Wells moves to 1-1 on the year while the visiting Pioneers remain winless in four games on the season.
Juniors Darius Smith (Lanham, Md.) and James Feocco (Auburn, N.Y.) each racked up 16 points for the Express, leading the team offensively. Freshman Rich Ross (Bronx, N.Y.) and junior Chris Courtney (Auburn, N.Y.) each posted 12 points while junior Vaughndell Brantley (Syracuse, N.Y.) was the fifth double-digit scorer for Wells, potting 11 points. Feocco's 11 rebounds led the team while Courtney dished a team-best four assists.
Wells also set a team-record with 30 free throws made in the game – shooting nearly 70% from the free-throw line (30-for-44), the Express used late foul shots to secure the win. Alfred State converted less than 50% of its free throws, making 21-of-44 shots from the line.
With his team down 71-64, a layup by Courtney and a free throw make on the ensuing foul shrunk the deficit to four points, 71-67. Alfred State made only two free throws on their next four trips to the line, reestablishing a six-point lead with 43 seconds remaining, 73-67. Ross stepped up for the Express down the stretch, making a free throw before intercepting an inbounds pass and burying a clutch layup.
Down by a 73-70 margin with 31 seconds remaining, Wells was forced to foul and the Pioneers made only one-of-two free throws with the opportunity. On the very next play, freshman Zachary Marsh (Whitney Point, N.Y.) stepped up for Wells and made a clutch three-pointer from the corner to reduce the Alfred State lead to one point.
Forced to foul down the stretch, Alfred State made none of their next four free-throw attempts to allow Wells to tie the game and go-ahead with two free throw makes by Feocco, who lifted the Express to a 75-74 lead. Sent to the line once against, Alfred State again missed two free throws while Wells was successful at adding insurance at the charity stripe down the stretch, taking a 79-74 victory.
Wells led by as many as 10 points in the first half, taking a 19-9 lead following a Brantley layup with 10:48 remaining. Alfred State, however, would rally in the second half to capture a commanding 13-point lead after a dominant 14-0 run that forced the dramatic Express comeback. A three-pointer by Courtney, however, swung momentum for Wells as a 22-13 run set up the dramatics with 1:22 remaining.
Alfred State was led by 17 points from Tyrone Davis. Adam Fezza and Dante Jordan each posted 10 points while Davis tied for the team lead with five assists and secured a team-leading four steals. The Pioneers outshot Wells from the floor (47.9%-to-41.5%) while shooting nearly 50% from three-point distance, but the Express made 30-of-44 free throws to clinch the win – Alfred State was 21-for-44 from the free throw line (47.7%).
Wells returns to action Saturday, Nov. 21 as it hosts Houghton in a 3 p.m. non-conference contest at the Farenthold Athletic Wing.